I want to start this blog post by stating that I absolutely loathe the phrase “politically correct”. There is absolutely nothing “political” about being more empathetic and conscientious of the spaces we occupy and considerate of the people that we speak to. It’s not a matter of being correct, but a matter of being respectful, open, and kind to the most marginalized voices in our communities.
It seems apparent that many folks don’t understand this concept. Or rather they understand the concept, and simply find changing their way of speech, being, or doing too arduous or wasteful of a task.
Conservative political commentators like Tomi Lahren have publicly expressed their disgust toward “political correctness”. On her Fox Segment “Final Thoughts”, Lahren has called out “Liberal snowflakes” and “millennials” for crying over what she considers meaningless issues. During her Christmas edition of “Final Thoughts, Lahren said, “If you think border walls and immigration laws are mean, you’re a snowflake” suggesting that reactiveness to the harsh laws and practices toward immigrants crossing the Mexican-U.S. border is fragile and child-like thinking.
But why do we have such a volatile reaction to “sensitivity”?
As the wave of digital communication and technology heighten, we’re exposed more than ever before to different worldviews and opinions about everyday interactions that have gone unacknowledged (covert racism, microagressions, culture appropriation, etc).
On one hand, this level of exposure to different kinds of people informs us on the ways certain language and behavior hurts people and affirms oppressive systems. However, does constantly having to think about the impact of our words and actions?
We have had the highest influx of technological advancement in any period of time in history. It’s allowed us to communicate with one another, share ideas, see the world, but to some degree, it’s prevented us from thinking more. We don’t have to think if a device provides us a quick answer. If someone across the state, country, world, tells us this is how we should think, we take it for face value and don’t challenge it further.
Thinking about what you say before you say or what you do before you do it, is what kindergartners are taught. And taking time to come up with a better joke or a better word for what you’re trying to describe makes you smarter and puts better content out into the world.
Ellen DeGeneres has made an entire career without ever insulting a single person. Her entire platform is based on being kind and has a net worth of $400 million. Gary Owens talks about race throughout his comedy without being racist. Ariana Grande has worked with black artists and uses black performers without appropriating the culture. She also fired one of her dancers for using the N-word.
Freedom of speech does not mean free from repercussion. People may be upset by what you put out into the world, but that doesn’t always mean they’re over sensitive or that you are a bad person who needs to be removed from the planet. It’s okay to take back something you said or acknowledge that your actions may actually be harmful.
It is still possible to produce quality content, make people laugh, and live a wonderful life while keeping others in mind.