Was Martin Luther King Jr. too “PC”? I ask because I am exhausted by people talking about “PC culture” or the “PC Brigade” or general complaining about the world becoming too “PC” or being offended by people who are easily offended. But what no one ever explains to me is where is the line between PC and general bigotry? At what point are people being too sensitive, when they are demanding equality, is that too far?
Much like how award shows for movies are complete garbage because assessing the value of a movie or song or artistic endeavor is completely subjective, labeling someone or something as “too PC” is subjective. For anyone to say that there’s a particular group of people who are too PC is disingenuous and a vain attempt to label one’s self as the arbiter of what is/is not acceptable while also feeling victimized.
For some reason people have a deep need to feel like a victim, whether that be a victim of hate speech or the victim of the PC Crowd. Is it because we’ve seen so many underdog stories that the only way we can feel like the hero is if we’re being victimized? Is it because of the weird Neanderthal gene where we need to separate ourselves into tribes, so we need to vilify other people?
Whatever it is, please believe me, we are all just people and need to be approached as individuals. That’s my point, there is no “PC crowd” and society isn’t anywhere near becoming “too PC.” It’s not real. It’s all a very recent invention by people who have run out of things to complain about and need to feel like an underdog.
There are individuals who have pet concerns and are given the microphone of the internet. There are individuals who want to feel like a a hero by shaming others. Because that’s they’re only outlet for feeling like a hero. There are also people who don’t want to consider that they goofed and said something mean in a public forum and don’t wan to feel bad about that so lash out at accusers. On either side there are jerks. It’s all nonsense and whining about people being too easily offended is hacky.
Everyone has a line. We all have our own internal system for deciding what is and is not offensive. So the idea that there is a group of people who are too PC is flawed because at any moment you, oh brave defender of the offensive, will find yourself thinking someone has gone too far. What fits in the boundary of political correctness (I should have spelled that out sooner)? Are people too politically correct for calling Bill Cosby a rapist? Are people being too sensitive for not wanting to watch a Roman Polanski film? Would I be offending someone if I called OJ Simpson one of my favorite comedic actors (Naked Gun forever!)?
Either way, people don’t like to be challenged. We all want to feel like the hero of our own story. So, when we get called out for saying something that may bum out a small group of people who have a hard time simply due to a circumstance of birth, it challenges our own personal hero-narrative. Rather than look at ourselves and change–which is scary–instead we lash out at this phantom PC Crowd. It’s okay to self-assess. It’s okay to admit being wrong. Being someone who says horrible things regularly, I may apologize for this tomorrow.
People can complain about anything as being insensitive. I could argue that The Peanuts gang is insensitive. They portray an insensitivity toward people with mental delusions and childhood cancer (Snoopy is the one with psychosis, Charlie is the cancer kid). But that doesn’t mean I’m right or that anyone has to listen to me. Also, you’re not affected by people complaining about things that do not affect you. You can ignore them. (I should take my own advice.)
Think about who you’re siding with when you complain about the PC Crowd. Are you siding with those who are enraged that they can’t fly the Confederate flag or call people racist names? There are some individuals who are quick to martyr themselves and that’s what you’re doing when you complain about things being “too PC.” Be careful because there are hyper-disgusting-racists who may be holding your hand cheerleading the anti-PC nonsense.
No matter what, try to be polite. Martin Luther King was polite. He held polite marches, politely and eloquently spoke and it made people think, “huh, maybe I am doing something wrong by not wanting to treat people equally.” That should teach all of us that being courteous is more likely to result in change. Complaining about people being mean or too easily offended in a rude manner will only result in more anger (like my being angry at people who are angry at people who are angry).
Not sure where I fall complaining about complaining about complaining, but I do hope someone complains about my complaint about complaints about complaining.
Many years ago, when the internet was barely a toddler, I learned how to go online, and I joined a group that discussed Laura Ingalls Wilder. I adored the Little House books when I was growing up. I read them over and over, and read them to my children. I still read new books about Wilder. One time in the discussion group, someone said something about “PC,” which was a new term then. Someone else asked what it meant. I said it means things like calling a mailman a mail carrier or a postal worker because now the mailman might be a woman. It means including people and being a bit more sensitive about the terms we use to describe them. The person who asked said, Oh, thanks. Someone else in the group went ballistic and attacked me for being PC. She wouldn’t leave me alone. I received email after email from her. It was ridiculous. Finally, I left the Laura Ingalls Wilder group and removed all of my contact information. How stupid is it that I couldn’t be in a Laura Ingalls Wilder group without being attacked because I was PC? I’m sick of the term. I don’t see anything wrong with making an effort to be kind and polite, and it doesn’t mean I’m part of the PC Police. I know a man whose son is severely disabled. When he takes his son on outings, occasionally someone will sneer, Look at the retard. How gross. He shouldn’t take that monster out in public.
If being PC means not saying such things, then I’m all for it. But what does it have to do with PC? Let’s all be a little kinder and a little more polite. No big deal. You are correct in saying that PC is an invention, just as the attack on Christmas is an invention.
Maybe PC really stands for Partly Canadian because most Canadians are so darn nice. I’d like to be Canadian. My son and I have chatted about moving to Canada, but we can’t afford to move. I don’t think I can deal with snow, either.
Those two stories you just shared are terrifying. Maybe we need to create a vitriol room, a business where you pay a set fee and get to beak a bunch of plates and glasses. Whatever it is so that people have a vent for their anger. I mean someone getting mad on a Laura Ingalls Wilder group is ludicrous. Just as insane to me is that someone would openly call a disabled person a “retard” to their face.
Politeness is my pet mission. Whatever pseudo-side a person is on, if you want to call someone out for being a bigot or get angry that you’re being called a bigot, have a reasoned discussion. That’s not so hard. It’s easier than the result of anger. Anger Management classes take weeks! Just ask questions and take in the information, it would be so much easier.
You’re right: Angry people need a way to vent. They need a place to be nasty and break things and maybe get it out of their systems. It makes me feel sick when I see mean people. My ex-husband said that I’m evil (I wrote about it on my blog a while back), and even though we haven’t been married for a few years, I was so upset that I cried. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. It still upsets me. We were married thirty years, had two children, he dumped me because he wouldn’t take his anti-psychosis medication, but I’m evil. Well, there’s the answer: psychosis. I know he’s sick, but it still hurts. All I did was ask him a harmless question about email I received with his name on it. Every time I see a list of traits of a sociopath, I see that my ex-husband has every single trait. Now I feel compelled to scream at the world, I AM NOT EVIL! But it still hurts. Some of the people who are mean are sick and can’t control themselves. Some of them enjoy being mean. They think it’s fun. They smirk and grin and call women whores and bitches. They lie about people. Willy Dunne Wooters and I pretty much stick to ourselves because we can’t and don’t want to deal with mean people. Last spring my daughter quit talking to me. No email. Doesn’t answer her phone. I know she’s alive. Why does she hate me so much? I don’t know, but I suspect it has something to do with lies her father told her. It’s the saddest thing in the world to lose my little girl, and I’m waiting and trying to be patient and hoping she’ll return to me someday. Now I’m starting to cry so I’ll quit talking about it. I leave her alone because I hope she’ll work through whatever it is that’s wrong. I love her so much.
Bigots and other haters have done their best to turn “PC” into a label designed to shut people up and shut their progressive observations down. That’s its real function and its only function. It’s a form of name-calling and shaming behaviour but it’s only effective if we let it be. Be PC and Proud!
You are so very right.
Its almost always used when someone doesn’t want to be considered a bad person, but also doesn’t want to consider the possibility that they have done something someone else considers offensive. The only way to reconcile the 2 things – the magic of blaming Politically Correct.
Its a big band-aid for their own cognitive dissonance on being the hero of their own story when someone doesn’t like what they say or do.
I am many things, I am not PC just saying, oh hang on PC doesn’t stand for personal computer, or does it, if it does then I am not one, if it stands for politically correct, I am not that either, so it is safe to say I am not PC I am a human who at times speaks without thinking, not as much as my sister who really needs a mute button on her, damn I forget what I was saying so I will shut up now and leave
Exactly. We all speak without thinking sometimes and I think it’s fine to ask someone if they were speaking without thinking and have a reasoned, polite discourse.
Are you sure you’re not a personal computer? I’ve read many of your posts and I’m starting to notice things like referring to your husband as a “mouse” and your children as “Lil’ Laptop” and “IPad Mini.” I’m on to you, “Dell.”
That’s hilarious. Jo-Anne is one of the nicest people in the blogosphere.
I’m not PC. Mind you, I’m not an insensitive prick either. I just think people can go overboard sometimes. The real trouble, I think, starts when PC meets stupid, they hit it off, one thing leads to another & their love-child is born. For example (I always tell this story when the topic of too PC comes up so I may mentioned it before):
Recently, someone I know online – an anime fan – posted a GIF on his stream from one of the more popular series. In it, the main villain is seen in the background, standing on the ledge of an old stone tower while trying to look badass & menacing… Then tiny a piece of the ledge crumbles under his foot & he slips & falls. It was meant to be comical, obviously, but one of the the first people to comment just went off on the poster about how suicide is “so. not. funny” & he should be ashamed for laughing at someone killing themselves. She even went on to ask him if he would be laughing at something so horrible if his mother had committed suicide…
See? PC & stupid can be a dangerous combination.
Maybe I’m too Personally Content to Peacefully Coexist. But I believe in Private Counsel when I have to turn in to a Prick Crusher. For the most part I just try to be nice and hope others will, too.
I actually think of it as the exact opposite. PC has always been around in one form or another. I mean, Bill Maher started his show “Politically Incorrect” in 1993, more than 20 years ago (God that made me feel old). It’s not like it’s a new term, or it’s some new epidemic that came out of nowhere. People have been getting offended over anything and everything for centuries, especially stupid things that aren’t inherently offensive. Like how 60 years ago I Love Lucy couldn’t use the word pregnant on air even when Lucy was pregnant because TV execs thought the word pregnant was offensive.
(Some 1950s TV executive is rolling over in his grave right now)
How is that the opposite of what I’m saying? This seems to prove my point that the very idea of PC is nebulous and malleable, and with no clear definition is completely meaningless.