And where is the harmony – sweet harmony?
Shaping one’s mind into the place where a truly good person dwells is a never-ending process.
There are detractors of the idea of “politically correct” – people who say that “being PC” is somehow stifling to their right to Free Speech, too limiting, detrimental to the world that they [think] that they live in.
Since when is being polite and kind LIMITING? I mean – truly, are we all so inflexible and uncaring that we can’t come up with ways to say things that don’t hurt the people around us? Because here’s what I think: the people who yell the loudest about the world becoming too PC are generally the people who are the most likely to be purposefully offensive.
My goal is to be as mindful of how I move through the world, and what I leave in my wake, as I possibly can be. I admit, it is an endless, tough goal. We are bombarded from birth onward by societally ingrained language and actions, the gift of the kyriarchy. People we know and people that we love use language and promote ideas that are ableist, racist, sexist, heterosexist, cissexist, ageist, and many other forms of bigotry. As they say, you’re soaking in it.
Considering the heavy doses of kyriarchal thinking that we’re fed every.single.day.of.our.lives, it’s a big job to address all the twists and turns of bigoted thinking that has permeated our brains. And what’s worse – since it is all around us, and because of that relatively invisible to us until it is shown to us or more likely, we are the target of slurs – well, it is pretty difficult to break brainwashing, and that’s what’s happened to us. It’s funny that often we don’t get it until we’re the ones consciously hurt by it. I use the word consciously, because we’re ALL hurt by kyriarchy, all the time. We just don’t know it until that veil falls away and we can see/experience it all around us.
So here I am, someone who started the journey to Being a Good Person a long time ago, when it became abundantly, personally clear to me how fucked up society is… and my journey has been going on since I was about eight years old. I’m now forty-five. I’ve still got a long, long way to go.
We slip up. We say things poorly, thoughtlessly, insensitively, angrily, carelessly. We might have banished all racially-based slurs, erased a culturally accepted bit of slang for example – but accused someone of being so blind, or said that having to wear our shirt tucked in is gay [or ghey – don’t even get me started on that little bit of “I’ll add a letter and it’ll be okay” slur-denial]. We might be the person who can shop off the Juniors rack at shops, who exclaims “I look like a fat pig!” while standing next to the friend who has never worn a size smaller than 22W since adulthood. We might be the one who says “I was gypped” or “You’re an Indian giver!” or tells everyone that your boss is
so cheap a Jew.
But the thing is this: you CAN change. And you CAN apologize when you slip up, and be gracious about it, and make the note internally to remember how this feels so that it gives you incentive to not slip up again.
You can speak up when others use problematic language or do things that hurt others. Yes, it can be scary, and yes, they might get mad. But even if you don’t change the actions of that person, you may change the actions of others who overhear you.
And you can remember the thing that I have to remind myself of all the time… this is a lifetime task. We will always be striving to improve, to be better people. But really, I think that the effort is worth it.
So yes, when I write something like this, it takes a while, because I am combing it over for signs of the kyriarchy slipping through. Some might say that I’m a slave to being politically correct.
I look at it as my contribution to being socially correct. It’s doing my part to be a better person, even if that IS work for a lifetime.
I’m good with that.