North Texas Daily

What it really means to be socially correct in these times of change

What it really means to be socially correct in these times of change

What it really means to be socially correct in these times of change
November 06
10:00 2018

The world has changed a lot in the past 100 years — from technology, to medicine, to what we wear when we go out. Another huge aspect that has both changed yet somewhat stayed the same is how we talk to each other.

As a Western culture, we have started to evolve away from the views our parents held and into a culture that tries to be more open and accepting of people. There has been a cultural shift toward acceptance and solidarity for vulnerable groups like the transgender community, suggesting our society’s desire is to accept more people’s truths.

Some minority groups’ calls for acceptance from the past decades have fallen on the deaf ears of those who think certain efforts for tolerance “are going a bit too far.” These people view being more mindful of their words as “too far” and disdainfully dub it “political correctness.”

The main idea behind our culture’s new sensitivity to what people think is that we, as a people and as a community, don’t live in a bubble. We now live in a world that is more diverse and accepting than the one our parents lived in, and we should try to be respectful of those sharing it.

Our interpretation of what is offensive is more volatile now than ever before, partially due to the political climate that we are in. A prime example of this occurred at Stevenson College in California, where the school served Mexican food at an outer space themed party — ignoring the correlation between “illegal aliens” and the space aliens it had at the party.

While the school didn’t mean to make this reference, and later apologized for its choice in theme, it just goes to show how a lack of consideration can still impact people. Some think people should not have taken offense at such a small and insignificant mistake, but this is exemplary of our current political landscape.

Some think these types of incidents stifle free speech, depict innocent errors as appalling acts and even claim people try to invoke laws as a means of punishing mistakes instead of protecting against hate. One such law in Canada, which protects against purposeful misgendering, was vilified by some as punishing those who “make one mistake,” despite the reality that people often misgender others repeatedly and out of malice.

Societal shifts toward respect are not trying to punish those who mess up or stop people from getting offended, but rather bring awareness to how different the world is. There have always been those who are different from the “norm” and they have always been historically persecuted. But we as a culture must now shift to accepting people as they are.

We can’t control whether something offends us, but we can control how we speak of others. We must move toward treating everyone with the same respect we ask for ourselves. As long as people accept their failings and try to better themselves, we should not punish them. It is those who refuse to see the pain they cause that must be educated.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Shane Monaco

Shane Monaco

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