Hello, hello! A few days ago, I posted the following image on my personal Facebook page and one of my friends thanked me for it. I’m still not entirely sure whether she meant it as a “hey, I never thought about it that way before” kind of thing or as an “I can relate, as someone has done this to me” kind of thing. Either way, I was a little taken aback. Have we, as a society, really become so politically correct that we can’t take kindness at face value? That we have to be told when people are being nice even if it clashes with our personal beliefs? I even went so far as to read the comments on the original post (never read the comments), and people were actually arguing that saying ‘You’re in my prayers’ to someone you know is an atheist is like serving PB&Js to someone you know has a peanut allergy. So, you’re going to go into anaphylactic shock because of something someone said? That’s a mighty severe allergy you have there.
Seriously though, when did we become so caught up in ourselves that we couldn’t look at things from the other person’s perspective? Honestly, I noticed a significant rise in this type of behavior when people started encouraging “political correctness.” The Right argues that political correctness is a restriction on free speech. The Left argues that it’s simply about being respectful and that there’s no hidden agenda. I’m sorry, but any phrase that contains any form of the word ‘politics’ is hiding something. That’s what politics are: the art of who can hide their true agendas from the public the best. It’s sad, but true.
When we can no longer walk down the street during the holidays and wish people a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or a Joyous Kwanzaa or whatever we celebrate for fear of offending someone, things have gone too far. When we can’t try to comfort an acquaintance the best way we know how for fear of offending someone, things have gone too far. When sincere attempts at kindness are met by snark and anger under the guise of political correctness, things have gone too far. So yeah, this whole political correctness thing has gone much too far.
There’s no hidden agenda behind political correctness, but in order to be truly PC, you have to fit the mold created around that ideal. You can’t be overtly religious, you can’t have your own opinions unless they match everyone else, you can’t be different. But America was built around differences. It’s not called the Melting Pot for nothing. We should celebrate our differences, not try to squash them out.
Don’t get me wrong, the basic concept or goal behind political correctness (treating each other with respect) isn’t bad at all, just the execution of it has perverted it into something else entirely (hence, the cake being a lie). You see, respect goes both ways (even if politicians on both sides would have you believe otherwise). Personally, I’m not someone who believes in the power of prayer, but I’m not going to disrespect someone else’s beliefs by telling them not to pray for me because of it. Just like when I tell someone I’m sending them good vibes, I don’t expect a lecture on science calling my vibes pseudo psychological hippie crap. That’s the kind of crap that’ll make me never talk to you again. Learn to accept kindness at face value.
In other words, stop worrying about being “politically correct.” Be kind. Be respectful. Remember that we’re all different and occasionally people are going to inadvertently do or say things that go against your personal beliefs. And if someone ever truly hurts you, whether physically or emotionally, by all means let them know. But if it’s simply a case of their beliefs clashing with yours, let it go*. After all, if we were all the same, the world would be a pretty boring place.