Manners, respect and political correctness

Every time I encounter someone expressing the idea that ‘this political correctness has gone too far now’ I immediately wonder who it is they’re prejudiced against. Who do they want to blame, shame, attack or abuse? This is in part because I’ve never found a problem in critiquing behaviour, especially individual behaviour.

It is basic good manners to use the words people prefer you to use – to not describe their race, religion, cultural heritage, body shape, disability, orientation or anything else in terms that are designed to put them down. If you want to use offensive language, the problem is not people being offended, the problem is that you have no manners. If you have a problem with something someone is doing, it is totally possible to talk about that without using offensive language. It’s actually more powerful to avoid language that people can latch onto. Your point may be derailed if you make it badly.

I think often the problem is that some of us are reluctant to listen to anyone else. It can be hard to hear that someone else has far bigger problems than you do. It can undermine your sense of entitlement and your feelings of importance. And of course this is often exactly the point. The feelings of entitlement and importance, and the need to be ‘above’ someone else is often a big part of what’s causing the real problems. If your white guilt is more important than the experiences of people suffering from racial abuse. If your hurt male ego is more important than women being raped and murdered. If feeling normal as a heterosexual is more important than queer people being imprisoned… these are huge imbalances, and need facing.

It’s the people who complain about political correctness, who, in my experience, are most likely to try and weaponise their own offence. And it works, because they’ve got enough power to do that. This is the scenario if you are offended by homeless people begging, or by images of starving child victims of war, or by paying your fair share of taxes. If you are offended by having to include people who are not like you, and offended by resources going to people who are not like you, your problem is probably you.

I also know that the people who want to be allowed to be un-pc are not likely to be moved by any of these points. So, I shall call them out where I can for being ill mannered, because it might be more effective. I’m also going to try laughing, because laughter is a powerful thing, and people don’t enjoy being told how funny and outdated their ideas are. My experience of anti-pc people is that they want to be taken seriously, and have their opinions respected, which may mean that giggling disrespect is the most effective means I have for getting them to stop with that shit.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Manners, respect and political correctness

  • Ryan Cronin

    Well said. I tend to mentally replace “political correctness” with “human decency” in my head when people complain about it: “it’s human decency gone mad” doesn’t have the same ring to it but exposes what people really mean. Of course anyone has a “right” to say whatever they want, no matter how bigoted, but it doesn’t mean I have to listen to them (and of course I have a right to respond too).

  • Anima Monday

    @Ryan Cronin What a brilliant idea! I will use that in future.
    @Nimue Brown I like that idea of just laughing. I just saw a wonderful clip of activists laughing at the Trump delegate at the latest climate summit. Let’s reward absurdity appropriately/ I have noticed one other justification. They will claim their freedom of speech is being infringed upon. To which I can only ask: your freedom to other and persecute?

  • hammadan zaitunih

    True. Politics has gone so far now. The world is in desperation and too much suffering and It won’t make a difference until they are changed. yahala

  • eberis

    I am not politically correct .. recently had a bout with maturity about cyberspace✌ and offer Free State piracy of media ecology is now my focus of the day this is blogged . I in chagrin have a mental health disorder of communications being word salad on Republican internet .. in reguard of scandalous reminder of a counter terrorin rebellion of peaceful warriors called steampunk druiding I don’t have a wimmer of copartisanship so I egres rather than retract my comment of bold business versus the people and a way of caring alot on internetting even if a fail of balance in way of good and bad . rules of egres . not recalcitrant .. eberis

  • eberis

    I worked on hello world at the White House to get Hello , Druid on a setting of bringing up communications software to get open.gov and begin Christmas with Ivanka as a decorator .

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