Thursday, June 23, 2016

The fine line between defending people and being the PC Police

I am pretty much always stunned when someone says that a comment I have made is racist, bullying, shaming, insensitive, etc.  I am none of those things.  At least I have always tried not to be.  I was raised in a series of small towns full of rednecks and racists and small minded people.  As a teenager, I started to look around at these people and decided this was not who I wanted to be.  Just because I was surrounded by people who did not like other races or sexual preferences…did not mean that I had to feel that way.

I haven’t used racial slurs in over thirty years.  Unless I was quoting someone else or had specifically explained why I was going to use a particular word.  I have not used slurs about LGBTQ Community folks in almost as long.

As I have grown up and met all kinds of different people, I have learned about different kinds of people and what they have gone through and tried to learn to be sensitive toward these things so that I am not hurting people’s feelings, even by accident, by using certain words.

Am I perfect?  Hell no.  Am I always PC and never say anything offensive?  Hell no.  Do I make mistakes?  All the time.  It’s called being human.

Here’s where I have a problem.  At what point does all this Political Correctness and Sensitivity cross the line?  At some point, there is going to come a time when we cannot speak to each other at all because everything we say is going to offend someone, somewhere.  At some point, people are going to become so thin skinned, that the entire surface of the Earth is going to be covered in eggshells and none of us will be able to leave the house.

I will no longer be able to laugh at clowns because what if some people CHOOSE to wear their makeup that way?  That’s their choice and their right!  I can’t jokingly call my best friend “whore” (as we have done for years) because there might be a woman nearby who was forced into prostitution and she will get her feelings hurt.  I can’t laugh at the man wearing the hat so big that he had to turn his head sideways to get through the door because he MIGHT be poor and unable to afford a better hat.  It’s just too much.

If I am out in public in my bathrobe…it’s funny.  People are going to take my picture and laugh and possibly post that picture on the internet.  Will I be embarrassed?  Probably.  But geez people…it’s funny.  We all do things that are embarrassing and other people laugh at us.  For god’s sake…I worked at a Renaissance Festival for six years.  Do you know how amusing people find it that I am wearing couch fabric in the middle of a cow pasture in Texas pretending to be from 16th century Europe?  It’s funny!  Big deal.  Now…would it be ok for someone to come over and beat the crap out of me because I wore my bathrobe out in public?  No.  But to laugh at something that’s obviously odd?  What’s wrong with that?

I’m all for having a more sensitive world.  I’m all for ending racism, sexism, and discrimination in general. I’m all for letting people live their own lives and be who they want to be (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else).  Marry who you want to marry.  Use the bathroom you feel comfortable in.  Wear what you like to wear.  I don’t care what color your skin is or what god(s) you believe in.  If you treat me with respect, I will treat you with respect.

If I do something ridiculous – laugh at me.  It’s funny.  If I wear something you think is crazy – laugh at it.  You have a right to your opinion…just like I have the right to wear my crazy outfit or do something ridiculous.  But let’s not go SO FAR into this politically correct, overly-sensitive world that we forget how to laugh.  Laugh at yourself…laugh at your friends.  We are humans and do dumb things and it’s funny.  Let your freak flag fly and if someone laughs at you…let them.  Understand that everyone has a right to their opinion and to live their life.  You being a weirdo might have been the best part of their entire day because you made them laugh.

Stop trying so hard to police everyone else for their language.  Worry about yourself.  If I have said something that offended YOU personally, come talk to me about it face to face or at the very least via a private conversation over email or the phone.  If you are my friend, know me well enough to know that I don’t purposely hurt or offend people.  So if you think I’ve done that, come talk to me about it.  But before you do…ask yourself if I have really done something that has hurt someone else or if I am just amused by things I see in the world.  Understand that there is a difference.  Understand that if we continue to take this PC thing too far…we are going to live in a miserable world, without laughter, and without humor because everyone is so busy being PC or policing other people.

As a friend of mine recently said, “Go find a real injustice and champion that!” 

You can’t make the world perfect.  It will never happen.  Pick your battles before the whole world becomes nothing BUT a battle.

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