Living within the current political climate can be…exhausting to say the least. Consuming the various amounts of information we receive on a daily basis can be draining, and I find it hard to rummage through the loads of crap while dissecting the truth from the garbage heap that is the 2016 presidential election. One term that keeps running through my head this season is ‘political correctness’. It’s got a ring to it that a certain presidential nominee cannot stop using; *insert cough here*. It’s a word being covered by many news outlets and it’s touted as one of the main reasons said nominee is so, dare I say, ‘desirable’ to certain supporters.
On my drive home while listening to the radio I kept turning this word over and over in my mind; political correctness, political correctness until it became a kind of a chant. What does the word mean? Replaying this word over and over I still could not fully grasp it’s meaning. To me this word felt as if it were wearing a mask, a mask used to present one idea while secretly saying something else. It’s a buzzword like “urban.” It felt ready to be stripped down.
Let’s be real; claiming a lack of political correctness is code for ‘ I can say whatever I want and fuck how anyone else feels’. Political correctness is code for someone who wants to absolve themselves of personal responsibility while using other people as a step stool to validate whatever antiquated ideas they want to hold onto. News flash! Confidence comes from the respect you have for others and yourself; it is not measured by how much and how often you shit on others. Intent versus impact. People keep screaming about how they don’t want to be censored, but has anyone stopped to think that maybe their way of thinking or their current belief system needs some censoring, or at least some de-cluttering?
Growing up, we are taught to believe certain generalizations and stereotypes about people we deem as “the other,” even though they may not truly reflect the individuals we run into throughout our lives. A key word in the above sentence is taught. Our natural inclination is to love, creating a space for everyone to feel included in order to promote an overall feeling of harmony and cohesiveness. We are TAUGHT to hate, judge and scrutinize each other.
My brother and I were chatting several months ago and he exclaimed that he liked making fun of people. He would tell a girl she was fat to her face. It was his way of being uncensored, and he began laughing.
He remarked that when we go walking around town together I would need to get used to his jokes because that is just who he is. There were no words. I was completely shocked by his callous remarks! Who he felt he was, taught to him by our father, was someone who should criticize and taunt anyone who doesn’t fit into his mode of thinking. Why not take the time to examine where your words are coming from? When you say something to someone what is the intent behind your words? Were you using your words to uplift that person or bring them down?
If I am leaning towards saying something cruel to someone I often wonder what is it within me that feels the need to attack others with unwarranted hate? What is it about me that is unhappy?
When someone responds to cruelty with anger we berate them for being “too sensitive.” We are now offended by their humanity, which threatens to push away those steel bars we use to close off our empathy in place of the almighty political correctness.
If you haven’t already guessed words DO matter! Anyone who has remembered the snide remark from a lover or the judgmental words from a parent can attest to this. Words, like thoughts are invisible waves of energy that can alter the state of another being even if we refuse to see it. Anyone who has listened to Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech can attest to the shiver of hope felt by the truth, honesty and optimism in his words.
As we walk through life we leave imprints on everything we come in contact with and we have the choice to leave something positive. We can choose to surrender and grow with the ever-changing life that’s in front of us each day. For me change is a harder concept to grasp because our entire existence is based on change. Thousands of years of evolution, taking billions of years relied on change, adapting to our environment and circumstances to what we are presently. Change, an act, requiring each of us to surrender the old and what we assume we know, for something new, scary and unknown. Not an easy task eh? Letting go…..realizing our tight grip on control does not bode well for most of us because a part of us need the structure and box to help things make sense to us. Letting go is such a hard thing to do, yet something that must be done in order to allow more compassion, ideas and different perspectives into our lives.
So in short I guess my point is, don’t be an asshole.
Jen McClain is currently living in Las Vegas, deciding on how best to change the world. When she’s not working she is reading existential novels, doing outdoor adventure or learning to just be. She loves to travel and is ecstatic to be able to be a guest blogger for he BGN family!