—by Giselle Haas
Yes, political correctness can be annoying…in the same way that learning how to say “please” before Mom gives you your lunch or actually having to walk to a bathroom and pull down your pants instead of going right there in your diaper and not interrupting your activity is annoying. It’s for our betterment as human beings.
If you’re wondering why it’s “suddenly” become so important to be politically correct nowadays, well, it’s because of social media. Hello, fellow Titusvillians and other small-towners. <3 We grew up in a small town, but social media exposed us (and I am using “us” because I recognize I’m at fault, too) to the world, and it’s at our fingertips. Suddenly, the world is so much more diverse than we thought.
I’m not speculating, this is my transformation. I wasn’t raised to hate people who were different than me. My parents taught me to be kind. My Catholic grade school taught me to be kind. I just wasn’t, well—exposed to anyone different (race, religion, orientation, etc.) until, well, I thought until high school but, I mean, Titusville.
Still, and I’m going to get real here, I said some things to Michael about being Korean in the early stages of our relationship that I would never say now. I never meant any harm, of course, but it pains me now to ever think that’s how I thought. Because I love him. I am “politically correct” for him because I love him.
And I love Amara, she’s my best friend. And we were decorating our dorm with coloring book pages on our first day of meeting and I asked her to hand me the “skin-colored crayon” and she gave me “brown.” And we laughed about it then, but it really struck a chord with me. I am so stinking mad at myself for saying that, for making things uncomfortable and her having to just laugh it off. It’s a minor moment in our relationship, but a major turning point in my life. I’ve never made that mistake again, even among other “apricots.” I cannot help where I was born and among whom I was raised, but I do have the power to expose myself to people I want to be politically correct for.
Yes, a transformation is possible. You are never too far gone. You don’t even have to broadcast it. It can be as subtle as you want. It starts with just being kind.
Maybe it’s the “political” part of correctness that’s upsetting everyone. Like the government is forcing you to think a certain way. Well, see, we have this free will thing and, as far as I know, no one’s come up with a way to control someone else’s mind outside of fiction. So how about, for the benefit of this essay-thing, I now replace “political correctness” with “kindness?”
No one is forcing you to go against any religious beliefs, only asking that you show kindness towards others. No one is saying “YOU CAN’T BE UNCOMFORTABLE ANYMORE,” because comfort is relative. Just smile and be kind and don’t purposely make it uncomfortable for everyone around you.
The more I am exposed to people, the more I love people. I want them to express themselves freely, I want them to be happy. I want them to feel SAFE. I want to be politically correct for the people I love. Sorry, I want to be KIND to the people I love. Isn’t that what we’re taught anyway?
Categories: Sister Sirens