On the need for political correctness

‘Tis the season as they say, and sadly, it seems that there is always an issue of bridling at “political correctness” – as if those two words together are worse than George Carlin’s heavy seven. (More so given the political shift in 2008) Chill, people, chill!

My enlightenment came upon leaving the provincial comfort of small town Connecticut in 1979 when I learned… gasp… that there were more view points than those I grew up with. Actually, it started sooner when I thought my father was nuts for insisting on no changes to the church service when we got a new minister – “What was he thinking doing the bible reading before the second hymn? That’s supposed to come after!

People are generally uncomfortable with new and different. Even if the new just might be better.

Anyway, in going off to college in another state – the foreign upstate New York “another state” – and discovering little things like different food names (i.e. subs, hoagies, heroes, and our own, very parochial grinders) were such a geographic thing was an eye opener. Cultures are different. Prejudices are different. I naively thought I didn’t have any – I admit with shame that in our youth, if we ever admitted to being lost, my brother and I would feign a southern accent to ask directions, because an accent like that implied…well, as I said, I’m ashamed of the way I thought back then. Still, I like to think I grew past the environment. I learned to be more sensitive to the feelings of those around me. And I wish more people would do the same.

I consider political correctness as a fundamental respect for others. Don’t arrogantly assume someone else thinks like you. Don’t presume. Particularly when it comes to something like religion. We should be able to take a Merry Christmas wish in the intent in which it was offered, even though we might not be a Christian. But what if I am a Jehovah’s Witness and am offended by that because I do not celebrate the holiday? Or Jewish or Muslim or Wiccan? How does making a general statement like “Happy Holidays” hurt you while at the same time not hurting anyone else? Per the converse, by wishing someone a particular holiday presumes they share that sentiment. Your holiday may not be my holiday.

So, instead off getting all righteous and indignant about how the holiday is being hijacked by so called “liberals”, how about thinking of someone other than yourself for a change? Take a moment to consider others. “Happy Holidays” is generic, inoffensive and even if someone is not celebrating any holiday, chances are he/she will have the holiday off and it differs none from wishing them a good weekend.

Bottom line: politically correct means being polite and considerate. Try it. You won’t burn in hell. Or Xibalbá. Or Gehenna. Or Avīci. Or, oh bother….you get it.

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3 responses to “On the need for political correctness

  1. Pingback: Over the Verizon…and down rabbit holes… | Random (and not) Musings

  2. Pingback: Public Courtesy…plus Arts, Design, and Life | Random (and not) Musings

  3. Pingback: Correctness, political or not, is even more necessary than ever | Random (and not) Musings

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