Thursday, February 19, 2009
Can I stop being so damn PC?!
The cartoon published in the New York Post has drawn a lot of criticism for having a racist undertone found offensive by many people Black and non-blacks. The cartoonist himself has said that this was not his intention and many people to the defense of the cartoonist have said people need to stop being so sensitive. America is saying I am so tired of having to be PC all the time.
My reply is fine. Stop.
The first amendment gives you the right to express yourself openly and publicly. I would never be one to advocate infringing on that right. You should be able to say whatever you like.....so long as you can take the consequences ( I will come back to this point).
You see the issue with being politically correct is not the intention, as most people I know have yet to develop ESP, but the perception. The only thing people can judge a statement or action is by how it appears to them. So while the cartoonists intentions may have not been racial it certainly gave many people the impression that it was. For the sake of argument I don't want to go into whether there was or wasn't deliberate insult in the cartoon--I am assuming there wasn't. This doesn't change the fact that many people found it very offensive. The debate seems to be whether or not people should or shouldn't have been offended, but why? You can no more change what offends a person, then you can what makes them happy.
I could talk about the historical context of the use of monkey in relationship to blacks, I could analyze minutia about the picture to support the analogy to the president or to support the authors stated intention, but it really doesn't matter. No one has the right to tell people what does and doesn't offend them. That is akin to you stubbing you toe and me telling you to suck it up that doesn't hurt that bad. Who I am to quantify your pain?
The key component behind political correctness is empathy.
n. Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.
Empathy is not sympathy, nor pity. It is recognizing how another person not in your shoes may feel or interpret a situation. It is stepping away from your vantage point to understand how another person could feel. It is severely lacking in our society.
Now about that point I said I would get back to. You don't have to be PC not one day in you life should you choose not to, but you cant control peoples reactions to what you do. And telling people their reactions and feelings are wrong isn't going to help solve the problem, it didn't make your stubbed toe feel any better did it?
If you don"t care about being perceived in any way act any way you choose. I like to curse. I find curse words to just be words, but I don't curse in public or crowds I don't know; not because I think cursing is wrong. I don't want to offend people. Now if you make me angry and find an explicative wandering in your direction, then obviously I no longer care how you feel. In either case I own up to my choice of wording. Being "PC" works the same way. If you don't care how you are perceived say, and act as you please, but if you care.............