“We don’t have to be politically correct anymore!” I’ve heard this in conversations, and I’ve seen it on social media, in the news.
I’m going to be honest with you. When it came down to saying Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, you never did have to be politically correct. If you said Merry Christmas to someone who celebrated Hanukkah, they might say “Happy Hanukkah” in return, or they might just smile and nod. It doesn’t really matter. If this person were a friend of yours, you would probably know they were Jewish and not celebrating Christmas, and you might adjust accordingly. Otherwise, no big deal.
Political correctness is basically acknowledging differences between people. That not everyone thinks the same way we do.
If you know about those differences, maybe you have unpacked your privilege enough to recognize that your worldview is not the only one.
In reality, all political correctness is is a request for empathy.
What political correctness did was shove anger and prejudice and stereotypes further into the basement of the collective subconscious.
Unless you were on the receiving end of someone’s prejudice, you didn’t have to notice that it existed.
White moderates forgot that there were racist white people because (a) it didn’t happen to them, and (b) the racists were being politically correct. Because it was never out in the open, and not a part of the conversation, it couldn’t be faced head-on.
It was seen as having to pander to other people’s feelings. It was seen as dishonesty. If you did it without empathy, that’s exactly what it was. If you spoke in politically correct terms because you felt you had to as a part of polite society and not out of a genuine understanding of why they mattered, then it was a lie.
I’m still trying to unpack why experts and intellectuals are seen as “elite” and less than reliable. I don’t understand that one yet. But politically correct speech is also seen as “elitist.” It’s seen as a way of hiding the truth.
To Quote an article in Time:
The opposite of political correctness is not unvarnished truth-telling. It is political expression that is careless toward the beliefs and attitudes different than one’s own.
If you feel like speaking in politically correct terms is dishonesty, let me give you a little nudge: Some of us speak that way out of empathy. It’s honestly where we live. It’s honestly who we are.
If you are people in our lives, we’re going to hold you to those standards of compassion.
So, go on, stop being politically correct.
I don’t want you to be politically correct with me. I’m learning how to call people on their shit. That will help me hone those skills.
The less politically correct you are, the more I know I need to ask you for empathy.
I find it’s the hardest with people I respect and like. I sit there dumbfounded. Did they really just say that? and I have a hard time knowing how to respond. When it’s people I love, I really need time to figure out how to respond, and often that time isn’t available. I’m just focusing on the fact that I’ve pledged to sacrifice my silence.