Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Politically Correct Gone Awry

Some people want to control speech in this country. They use political correctness to achieve that end. Political correctness constricts and restricts free dialogue and honest debate between people with extremely divergent or different views. 

The most extreme form of the politically correct gone awry is when someone is offended by what someone says and seeks to shutdown that person by going after the person's character or morals. Others follow by targeting the person's job, livelihood and family by attacking them on social media, cable news and print media. 

The other option is to discuss what is so offensive about the speech like adults with a profound misunderstanding or strong disagreement. That's much more difficult unless you want to silence a person and silence their perspective . . . Political correctness gone awry. 

This is why discussions on race, religion, politics, terrorism, privacy all lose focus so often. One side uses language that is demeaning and belittling to silence their opponents. The other side seeks to use political correctness to silence their opponents. Both are squeezing out common discourse and dialogue. 

If you want to talk about race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexuality or other hot button controversial issues, it's often easy to say something that offends someone that isn't intentionally offensive, demeaning, or belittling to any specific person or group. A person's upbringing, belief system, and community can instill a reactive response to trigger words, topics or even certain people. 

However, because of the PC police, mob, or whatever word you want to apply to it, that person might be labeled racist, sexist, or bigot just for speaking honestly, genuinely, and sincerely even if mistakenly so. How is negatively labeling someone any different from demeaning or belittling a person? Each of those labels are not only demeaning and belittling but each is fairly damning as well.

Politically correct monitors are no different than the ones they're trying to silence. They just deem themselves judge, jury, and somehow better than others. How does labeling someone a racist or bigot help them understand anything? How does that broaden their view of others or ideas?

I get called all sorts of names and have all manner of accusations lobbed at me wherever I comment as well as on my own material. It doesn't bother me. As far as people's personal opinions of me, it doesn't affect me, certainly emotionally. I attempt to find some common ground wherever I can. Sometimes, I fail miserably at that. That's okay. 

It's a different approach and touch to managing people with a diverse set of opinions. I don't think I would learn too much about those who disagree with me if I took offense at every name they called me or mischaracterization they attached to my intentions. However, I always welcome input and enjoy discussing, debating, and exploring alternative perspectives and ideas.

This doesn't exempt anyone's ideas from criticism, including my own, but that criticism shouldn't be to shutdown discussion or debate but to broaden understanding.

If we keep lobbing word grenades at one another, trying to prove who is right and who is wrong, all we've real done is proven how utterly incapable we all are at uncovering the common ground that we all stand upon right here right now.

I'm always striving to think beyond just my limited interaction with a person, as I know I'm not that important.

What can I do that may pry open the mind just a bit for that person's next encounter? 

I certainly don't want to shut anyone down or turn anyone off. 
Who would they turn to?
Likely, people who only think as they already do. 

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