Last week I came across this meme online that made me think a lot about political correctness and the situation that we’re in as a society. The meme was kind of a joke, but he was saying things like, “what’s next? We won’t be able to order Italian sodas or black coffee?”
I could relate to it because I think we all have this feelings that we’re always walking on eggshells, that at any point we might say something that might make someone upset, even if that’s not our intention.
It’s very dangerous when we don’t feel free to have conversations with people. When we feel like if we’re not paying attention, we might say something that, you know, might be misconstrued or taken out of context.
It’s all about the intention. For example, if I ask for a black coffee, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s how I liked my coffee. But if I use the N word, for example, that’s of course messed up.
I see this being an issue mostly when there are people talking that are in different generations, maybe 40, 50 years apart. And we have to understand that those people grew up in very different environments.
I was talking to my grandma a couple of years ago, and we were so on different pages in that conversation. She grew up where there were more traditional roles. You know, there were things men do and things women do. Being gay was a problem, you know? She didn’t even know about trans people until later in life. And I know she’s a good person. I know her character. I know that she means well. But she grew up in a world where these things didn’t really exist, or at least not publicly.
I understand why she thinks the way she does, even if I don’t agree with her opinions. Now, some people out there are racist, sexist, homophobes, bigots, and we need to call them out. We need to call them out not only to show them that what they’re saying is messed up, but we need to call them out because of all the people on the sidelines, reading, watching. They need to know that certain things are not okay.
These are very weird times. We’re challenged with things that we’ve never had to face before in history, but at the same time, we have more freedoms than any time before. We have platforms through which we can deliver messages all over the world. And with that comes the responsibility to learn how to communicate properly and how to take a pause before we judge someone and really try to understand their intentions and who they are. And ask questions, ask questions. Don’t assume you know something about someone based on something you read online.
My personal approach is to give people the benefit of the doubt and try to understand where they’re coming from. Now, if somebody is being in biggot, then I have no problem calling them out, but I want to make sure that’s the case before I say something like that or make feel bad about something that they didn’t mean to say.