I had replies about my blog about Political Correctness.
A lot of you, especially the Americans, objected, telling me about PC being often over the top, hypocritical, intolerant, even aggressive.
It is probably all true, often, especially in the USA.
It is a bit like feminism. For a long time, I agreed with my now ex (but still very friendly) husband in his criticism of it.
OF COURSE any movement, including PC, has its bigoted fanatics. And the crazier feminists were often arrogant intellectuals, academics, pursuing the cause like Jean Paul Sartre (a man I personally detested) pursued communism.
But I did not see the forest for the trees.
Women living now, we should be really grateful to all those women who pushed the feminist agenda. It is thanks to them our lives are better and more interesting. And sometimes, we still have far to go.
I read another quote once, not sure by whom.
An artist sometimes has to go too far so that the society could go far enough.
I come from a communist country, I have a deep suspicion of ideology. I think that is partly why most of my Czech friends, who see PC as an ideology do not like it.
But but but again.
They often use the name of Political correctness as a derogatory term, like some people call someone who is NOT a Fascist with that name.They do not recognise their prejudices and present their opinions as facts.They use terminology which is offensive, and simplistic stereotypes.
Time changes. We change.
What was not considered racist or wrong in the past is now not acceptable.
President Lincoln, that hero of anti-slavery did not believe black people were equal.
Yet, this was more than 160 years ago. I believe that if he lived now, he would think completely differently.
No, I am not saying Abraham Lincoln should be criticised for this. He was a man of his time.
But we should all move with time, as I believe he would.
And if PC is here to remind us about things which are no longer acceptable, it has its good use.
Of course it should not be a way of bigotry and lack of honesty.But let’s not make the mistake I used to make with feminism and not see the forest for the trees. Let’s not make a minority bigoted part of ANY movement make us think they are the true representatives of the real thing. They are not.
My Goodreads friend Karen, a thoughtful and intelligent woman wrote as a comment to my blog:
“PC is only dangerous when it avoids honesty. One should be able to disagree and have a discussion, even if their view is unpopular. Honest debating with respect has been lost to PC gone overboard. “
Of course, she is right.
But I do not like name tags and generalisations. I am sure Karen doesn’t either. Life is always more complicated. And calling somebody a PC freak, or racist out of laziness rather than have a discussion is simple and wrong. Of course, there is a lot of racists and PC freaks. But I feel even with those, I would say: “What you say seems racist (or PC crazy) and does not show respect to…. this group…, how do you justify what you are saying?”
But honesty is only valid if it is, like Karen says, teamed with respect and consideration.
It depends what do you call “Honesty.” I am sure we all met people who deliberately say nasty things and then say “I am only being honest”.
If a friend asks me “How do you like my dress?” I will not say “You look awful; didn’t you look in the mirror?”
I might THINK SO. But at most I would say. “It is not really a style I like but if you like it, that is all right.” Anything else would stop being honesty and start being cruelty.
And I would ONLY say something about her awful dress if she asked.
But that is me. I do not like unsolicited advice. Getting or giving.