As I write a post on Code Project Here, I think about how being PC has turned many of us into a bunch of wimps.
These days, you cannot even finish telling a joke without someone interrupting saying that they are offended by what you are saying, and after acknowledging them and then trying to finish the joke, they continue to interrupt you: “I don’t think I am comfortable with the content of this joke.”
Well then… If the problem is that you are not comfortable with the content, then the problem is that you are not comfortable with the content, and you (not everybody else) should maybe do something about it… Like… Oh, I dunno, maybe
-And leave the grown-ups alone so that the joke can be finished and someone can get a laugh from it? It is completely OK if you cannot take the joke. And for the most part, other people will be comfortable with your limitation(s), as well. However, it is inappropriate to steal the enjoyment of the joke just because you cannot take it.
Here is a little fact: it is OK to be offended! Really! If you are walking down the street and see a billboard for a movie that shows a little too much skin for your taste and you get offended, all you have to do is BE OFFENDED, stop looking at the billboard, and just keep walking down the street minding your own business. No need to call a press conference to bitch about it. Something on the radio or TV that you do not like? Fine, STOP LISTENING, WATCHING, or just get off your butt and change the channel/station. You will be OK… The world will go on. Really. Trust me. It is OK if you cannot handle anything, but try not to involve others in your limitations.
IMHO, Political Correctness is based on a flawed assumption: everyone’s feelings matter. Why is this a flawed assumption? Because it fails to take into account one very simple and all-too-true concept: some people are just too sensitive. Sometimes, you just have to learn to deal with it, and not expect the rest of the world to change for you.
Parents of small children understand this. Just because your son took a toy from his big sister is not a reason for her to start screaming and crying. It is not that big of a deal, and it does not require all that drama. So while we correct the son so that he learns not to steal things, we also teach the daughter that some things are just not worth crying about. The old saying about not crying over spilled milk comes to mind. As the daughter grows up, we hope she learns which things are worth crying over and which are not.
If your child got upset and started crying each time someone spilled something on the table, would you go out to a restaurant and instruct all patrons sitting next to your family not to spill anything while your daughter is around? Of course not! You would teach her that spilling (or having something spilled) it is not a big deal, and not worth crying over. Political Correctness does the opposite – it not only requests, but REQUIRES that no one spill anything while your daughter is around! Does that not sound a little stupid to you?
Here is a little-known fact – I am generally offended by organized religion. Actually, I find most forms of religion greatly offensive. But I do not go around work demanding that people stop wearing crosses and/or remove pictures of Jesus from their workspaces. Trust me – if I can handle seeing crucifixes and the Jesus Fish everywhere, YOU can handle the crude joke!
The worst thing about the concept of PC is that far too many people are naive enough to believe that bring PC is the same as being professional. This is just plain stupid. Here is a small example – assume you have someone suffers from mental retardation. You can refer to them them in a few different ways:
- As ‘Tard
- As special
- As Mentally Retarded
Calling someone that suffers from this condition “‘Tard” is not professional, nor PC, nor even close to correct. In fact, it is idiotic. That much we can agree on. Moving on.
“Special” is the PC or nice way to put it. But as far trying to provide proper assistance to this person, it does nothing! Why? Because it fails to correctly identify the condition that the person has. And if you do not know exactly what is wrong, you cannot render proper assistance.
“Mentally Retarded” is the professional way to put it. It does not sugar-coat the truth, nor does it obfuscate the underlying problem. As such, it puts the problem right out in the open, where it can then be addressed correctly.
You do nothing for this person by calling them special. If anything, you only do something for yourself by making yourself feel better about how you address that person’s problem. That is a bit selfish, if you ask me. Additionally, you actually might end up hurting them by doing so, because they may not get the assistance they require. Imagine having a school called Foster’s Institute for the Special. If you had one child that suffered from Asperger Syndrome and another that suffered from mental retardation, can you tell if that school is able to help either or both of your children?
Now, some people with limited facilities actually consider it derogatory to identify someone that is mentally retarded as “Mentally Retarded”, or someone that has autism “Autistic”. Where does it end? Does short become “vertically challenged“? Do those that are bullies become “nice challenged“? If you cannot type, are you then “keyboard impaired“?
This is not the fault of the words themselves, it is the fault of those that would use them in a derogatory fashion, and those that are too sensitive to handle it. But as is the case with many things, the solution is education, so that these people better fit into the world. Not trying to change the world to accommodate those people. After all, it is a great big world out there.