Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Unfortunate PC Boxes

 Let me give you this scenario:

Cellophane is going out to dance.  Cellophane gets on the bus to go there.  The bus is pretty crowded, so Cellophane grabs one of the poles to stand in the bus.  He looks over at the seats and a man stands up and offers Cellophane his seat.


That man saw me limp.  He assumed therefore that, as an able-bodied man, he was superior to me in strength.  I'm going out to DANCE (I am tonight, actually).Therefore...he's a bigot and an ABLEIST! 

Or so I would think if I was a politically-correct piece of dirt.  The guy's being courteous and I'm making plenty of assumptions about him myself.

It's easy to see demons everywhere.  It's easy to find prejudice when they're ain't any.

The problem is that being too sensitive, too PC, actually reinforces the biases we’re trying to break.  We’re trying to be individual but with PC you and I categorise each other and put ourselves into little different boxes because of our ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, and so on. We tell each other not to have negative stereotypes of each other, but by boxing ourselves into these little boxes and conforming to PC, we make ourselves afraid to ask each other questions that can touch.  Hence, we stereotype even more and assume.  When someone challenges our ideas, we can scream any ad hominem attack we want to on them because they’re different from us.  We can find some “ism” to call them.  And so, we isolate ourselves even more from outside thought and go into the dark, murky depths.    

Sometimes I imagine there’s a wicked madman in a tall tower laughing insanely while he’s playing with those boxes.      

Now, I'm on the bus.  The guy offering me his seat looks like he's a thug.  However, we strike up a deep conversation.  My assumptions about him are destroyed.  I misjudged him and it turns out he misjudged me.  

But the only reason I know I misjudged him is because we weren't afraid to ask sensitive questions.  We did not categorise each other automatically and use those categories.  He did not think “Cripple… so avoid asking him about it.”  I did not think “Thug… so avoid asking about it.”  We walked out of the kingdom of PC talking to each other.  And so we got to know each other as individuals… which is far more important than race, class, gender, sexual preference, and so on.   

I’m as guilty as any.  But I always try to remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Dr. Martin Luther King had that dream.  We are busy destroying it with PC.