Has the term political correctness become overused as an excuse to not face things we don’t like? Is it an opt out clause when we should be acting not just complaining?
Life’s reality and the misuse of political correctness
Hands up those of you, like me, who are becoming almost too afraid of saying things in public in case someone yells ‘that’s very un-pc’?
I am not talking about bigotry, racism or any other truly unpleasant attitudes, language or policies that should rightly be stamped out and vigorously so. I am talking about the softer more subjective things where someone decides to take them out of context, personalise them where no personal intent was there and then object, quite often vociferously. Are people hiding behind the term political correctness to avoid life’s reality?
Let me tell you an example. At the beginning of some of my talks I have a short video that shows some pictures of the aftermath of the train crash, some of the injuries I sustained and then the campaign I ran. I do this so I don’t have to keep talking about the train crash itself and, also, because as time goes on a lot of my audience are too young to remember what happened and how devastating it was.
After one of these talks a young woman came up to me to tell me how upsetting this was for her to watch. Not because she knew of anyone who had been involved or because she had experienced something of the like herself. Just that she found it distressing. I should have warned her she remonstrated, there should be a public warning on it, it was very un-pc of me.
I was flummoxed.
Firstly, I couldn’t for the life of me see what was ‘un-pc’ about this slice of life’s reality.
If I understand the term properly: “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”
Secondly, she didn’t seem to grasp that this was real life. This had actually happened and was not something I had dreamt up intentionally to upset her (goodness knows what she makes of the news every day).
She paid no heed or seemed to derive no comfort from the fact that the majority of my talk carried on from the crash in an upbeat, hopeful and motivational way showing that however bad things may be there are ways to adapt and overcome them. (the video was 3 mins my talk was 40 mins).
However, just in case, and because I now feel under pressure to do so, I make sure there is a brief warning given before the video is run.
Life’s reality should make you act
Here’s my point: Life is tough. S**t happens, sometimes very nasty s**t indeed. If something is upsetting you so much don’t just sit there snivelling, get up and out there to try and change it. That’s how successful people succeed, they don’t sit there complaining and then expect other people to change it to make them happier.
Sometimes life’s reality is very, very painful and nobody is to blame; you need to find a way to accept this. Other times, people and/or organisations make an absolute hash of it and should be held accountable. That’s when you act, not complain that somehow this is “un-pc” for goodness sake. Life’s lessons are often harsh, but they don’t need to define you. You have immense power to make things better, if you have the courage to face life’s reality and do something about it. Misusing important concepts like political correctness is lazy.
Basically, grow a pair and get on with it.