Why "Politically Correct" Should Not Be A Bad Word
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Politics and Activism

Why "Politically Correct" Should Not Be A Bad Word

Is it such a bad thing to desire not to hurt others?

Why "Politically Correct" Should Not Be A Bad Word

I have always been the type of person to cringe internally (and often externally) when someone does or says something insensitive in the company of others. I think to myself that I would never say or do such a thing, while I am sure that I have in fact been insensitive at times, though not deliberately. I try every day to be as politically correct as I can be because I recognize the many advantages afforded to me by being born white, Anglo-Saxon, cisgendered, and heterosexual to a family that had loosely Christian ideals. There are many who would sneer say that what I do is part of the Liberal Machine©, that people have become too sensitive and people like me enable that.

I, however, simply consider myself to be doing my small part to make life easier for others by choosing my words and actions in such a way that I do no harm. You can call me a hippy, a bleeding heart liberal. Maybe I am, but I am not ashamed of refusing to harm people when I can avoid it. In light of recent events, the importance of living and choosing thoughtfully have been called to the forefront in my mind.

To those who continue to defend flying and wearing the Confederate Flag, a symbol most closely associated with a traitorous (and losing) military that condoned the enslavement of black people; to those who trivialize the work put in by Native Americans who earned the right to wear headdresses through gaining a great position of honor in their tribes by buying a similar one from Urban Outfitters to wear to music festivals; to girls who wear bindis because they are beautiful and "different;" to people who make jokes about rape or the Holocaust; to those who deliberately call transgender people by their birth names after they have chosen their new ones; to those who use racial slurs or perpetuate racial stereotypes; to those who can think of nothing better to call someone than "retarded" or a "faggot;" What makes you feel the need to do these things? What could you possibly gain?

I was born and raised in the great southern (though admittedly neither truly union nor confederate) state of Kentucky, but I show my pride by watching the ponies run, drinking bourbon and good old Winchester swamp water, and cheering for my Wildcats on game day. I like the "aesthetic" of Native American and Indian things as much as the next 20 year-old girl, but I certainly do not wear their clothing or jewelry or appropriate dreamcatchers or any of the many beautiful symbols of Hinduism because I do not understand their cultural or religious symbolism. I do not make jokes about rape or the Holocaust because neither of those things are funny and far too many people have been affected by both. I do not call people by names they do not desire to be called, just as you would not call a new acquaintance by his first name if he asked to go by his middle. I do not use words that have negative connotations toward any groups because I recognize that it is hard enough to belong to a minority group without people calling you names.

Is it such a bad thing to desire not to hurt others? To recognize that perhaps we should not fly flags that are associated with anti-black discrimination and persecution for many, regardless of our personal feelings about the symbol? That we should not wear other people's religious symbols, especially when we are going to be drinking or doing other questionable things in them? That we just should not say or do things that we know could possibly to hurt other people? Is it so difficult to take that precaution? It takes literally no effort not to do these things. It takes none of my time or resources and I know that I am living in such a way that I am not hurting anyone in a way I could avoid doing. Now, I cannot tell you that you cannot do these things. Part of being a citizen of a free country is recognizing the freedom of those with whom you disagree to do as they well please. I can urge you, however, to try to minimize your impact.

How many people will you hurt through carelessness before you leave this world?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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