In my opinion –Yes, of course. I believe it chills free speech, truth, and factual integrity – it influences how people draft written material that alters and fudges the message to avoid the possibility of offending someone or group. Do you know why so many get offended – because the comment may bear some truth and so it bites? Or because it is an out-and-out falsehood and slanders those talked about? Maybe it’s because the media stirs up the pot to create the firestorm!
Many of those things said are often based upon our stereotypes. Some stereotypes have validity. I’ll discuss that below. We’ll show it mathematically with something you may have studied in middle school – Venn Diagrams – you’ll remember – they looked sort of like the overlapping Olympic rings.
If you’ve ever played a sport, you have likely had a coach that called it like he saw it. He told you what you had to do – if you were not putting in enough effort – or you were wrong – or misbehaving – or engaging in something dangerous – or simply goofing off – and hey how about this – NOT GOOD ENOUGH your coach told you. We’re you offended? If you wanted to play on the team you had better put yourself out there and work at it.
Did we shrivel up and withdraw and cry from his/her comments? Did we run off and tell everyone the coach wasn’t politically correct? That she/he hurt our feelings? Could you imagine professional football if the players whined about comments made to them when their coach was irritated about their performances?
Free speech is paramount to our way of life. Neither hurt feelings nor being offended are mentioned in our Constitution. Words and speech are not restricted because they hurt feelings or offend. There is a reason for that – so that we – America – would not shy away from free speech as we are currently doing. That is why we allow neo-Nazis to march in Nebraska even though almost everyone in our country finds it offensive and distasteful – I certainly do – but I ignore them. They are irrelevant.
We can all choose to ignore vile speech. So can the media. If the media did so, and gave it no quarter – just ignored it – it would die away instantly. We would ignore the speaker. Americans are being herded like cattle by our media. “Offensive” messages are in the mind of the beholder – MEDIA can always find someone who is offended by what someone says. They are also very good at misinterpreting the message. Many of us could find all sorts of offensive things in most anyone’s speech. I do. That is why my wife yells at me for yelling at the television set during the national news.
We have brought this issue of political correctness on ourselves. I grew up in a time where we ignored ignorant people and moved on. We could hear a funny joke and laugh at ourselves even if it involved who we were. I think we take ourselves FAR TOO SERIOUSLY because we have split into factions and mini-factions ready to pounce on anyone who dares to utter some stereotypical comment about any of us. To me it’s all nonsense. Are we now are so thin skinned we can’t suffer criticism or humor directed at us?
We all have faults; we all have things we do that are funny. We all should be able to be the object of humor and we should laugh at ourselves too, just as others should do the same when they are the object of humor. There once was a comedian named Lenny Bruce. He was very, very offensive but he was funny because he picked on literally every culture – every race –every group – everyone. People understood he wasn’t mean spirited – he was a comedian.
How about IF YOU were held to account for the things you have said when YOU were angry? Or JOKING around? Are you insensitive? Yeah, probably. How about if you apologize? It’s over. Done
So what about those politically correct comments we endure? Are they true or false? Do others think that way? There is a clue right in front of you – the word “politically”. In my world – very little should be political. We regard many of our politicians as buffoons.
I mentioned earlier mathematically demonstrating the validity of certain stereotypes. So here is the exercise.
If we create a list of cultural characteristics of any one group, the characteristics of that culture – so let’s in this example use Germany – are different by regions. Bavaria is different from Berlin, hence where a family originated before coming to the US is important if the family carries with it those traditions. Are they first or second or third generation where those things mean less? What about their political beliefs – are they more liberal or more conservative – what are their religious beliefs – orthodox? or protestant? or perhaps atheist? Is their native language from a city (sophisticated?) vs. rural ( perhaps less so?) Their music interests – (classical or modern, or rock or rap, or jazz or whatever), their cuisine preferences, their hobby interests, their educational standards and beliefs, their work ethic, the list goes on –
From the above, we can create sets – (circles specific for that information for each potential category.) Every set will have its differences from other sets even within the same country – but some of the circles will overlap other circles where they share a characteristic. Where they overlap the features of both circles are present. Some of the Venn diagram will include places that will overlap (enclose) three or four or five circles. In those places, all of the characteristics of all of the overlapping sets (circles) will be present. At that point “stereotypes” about those particular people that exhibit all of those common behavioral characteristics that fall within that overlapping area and will be mostly true. If they were not, true then the characteristic wouldn’t fall into the set (circle) and therefore wouldn’t be part of the overlapping group.