Political Correctness: The Cake Is A Lie

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.

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This isn’t common sense?

 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.

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This.  So much this.

 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.

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That works too.

 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.

*This only applies if they’re being nice and respectful to you.  If they’re being asshats, do what you have to do.

On Being an Inspiration (Without Being a Douchenozzle)

Hi everyone!  It’s that time of year again, I guess.  That time when I see a bunch of articles and blog posts floating around about how the people who call cripples “inspirational” are basically ableist asshats.  It seems to come in cycles, usually popping up around the holiday season when people are more likely to try to spread the love (it’s actually starting a little early this year).  Anyway, I feel like I’ve mentioned this before, but it needs repeating: they aren’t the asshats in this scenario, you are.

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Ain’t it cute?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what most of these posts are trying to say, and I even kind of agree with the most basic message they’re attempting to convey.  I know I’m not actually inspirational, that I’m just doing what everyone else is doing (also known as living my life the only way I know how).  Yeah, I totally agree with that sentiment.  My problem with these rants about not being inspirational is that these people are being rude to people who are only being nice.  That is what I can’t get behind, so to speak.

Imagine (or if you’re a cripple/physically different in any way, you’ve probably lived it):  you’re at a restaurant and some happy-go-lucky cheerleader type comes up to you and says “OMG!  I just had to tell you that I think you are so beautiful.  It’s such an inspiration to see you out and about.  I don’t think I’d even be able to get out of bed if I were in your position.”  Now, keep in mind that this is the fourth time you’ve heard something like that this week and no one could keep track of how often you’ve heard it in your *insert age here* years on the planet.

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Sakura! But yeah, you all know the type.

What she literally meant:  “You’re an awesome person!”

What your jaded ears heard:  “You’re so disgusting.  How can you even leave the house, let alone your room?”

There are a number of ways you can respond in a situation like this.  For example, you can simply say thank you (my go-to response).  This usually results in a smile, possibly some small-talk, and a polite parting of the ways.  If you’re feeling particularly argumentative, you could respond with “Thank you.  I’m really nothing special, but you’re sweet.”  This could backfire into the lady listing the ways you are special, but at least you were nice about it!  Or you could let your cynicism reign and tear down someone who was only trying to let you know she thought you were cool, which makes you a douchenozzle.

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As these conversations always are.

What I’m getting at is that it’s nobody else’s fault that you’ve grown so cynical that you can’t take someone’s kind words at face value.  No, they aren’t being ableist and they aren’t making fun of you, they’re being nice.  Believe me, I’ve been in enough of these conversations to know that people don’t think that much when they speak.  It’s a unique experience for them, so their words simply mean what they mean, there’s nothing hidden underneath.  You only think there’s negativity in the words because you’ve had years to analyze a plethora of these conversations.  Stop overthinking it.  Nice people do exist.