For weeks this has been on my mind. I honestly do not understand all the attention and hype for being politically correct to appease all people. People vary from person to person and some people are offended by A and some are offended by B. Giving something a different name or label will not change that. In this essay I shall focus on historical awareness and political correctness.
First the importance of historical awareness needs to be explained. People and their living conditions in the past were different. What they did and did not do depended on factors in their particular time and environment. Ignoring people and their living conditions at their particular moment in time is dangerous. Projecting current views on past events and issues without considering the factors of the particular time leads to rewriting the past. Historical awareness is vital to learn more about past behaviour.
This thing political correctness is a social phenomenon that tends to occur when people and groups of influence push their ideals and concepts at society forcefully. Force will have some effect and certain words and expressions are no longer allowed because they are politically incorrect. In every society this can happen. When political correctness is adopted it influences people’s perception and how they respond to what happens or what happened in the past.
The pro-political correctness perspective generally benefits the people and groups that support the political correctness. Whether the pro political correctness crowd is a majority does not have to matter. What matters is that a certain agenda is pushed by all kinds of media to promote that certain agenda. The desire and need to not be offended then effects society.
The anti-political correctness perspective aims to let spades remain spades. When you lose the possibility to call a spade a spade you lose the ability to address issues. So it helps to not give in to people and groups who say “we do not want to get offended” at the cost of keeping your spade a spade. It is preferable to be able to directly address issues in some situations.
The importance of context cannot and may not be missed. Through my studies for school and personal I have learnt one thing in particular. That lesson has been that context can clear up why and how when current and past events happen. People who do not value context are dangerous because they overlook changing variables that can be of influence. Things do not simply happen. There is context or in other words a setting that can explain certain or all aspects.
Why I avoid the hype is simple. People who hype suffer from short-term perception and when the campaign and fun are over the next hype follows. Something might go different or wrong and then what? The people (sheeple) who hype for being inside the hype, if they want to have fun great. Fun at the cost of stupidity and long-term damages no. Viral this, viral that and “check this out” for what? The issue of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands has been handled in such an idiotic way from various parties that I despise the lack of a public intellectual debate. To much noise at the cost of a good signal.
I prefer the pragmatic and stoic attitude to the matter of historical awareness and political correctness. I value historical awareness and despise political correctness. It is too important to be (somewhat) historically aware when possible while being able to observe events for what they factually are. Rusty or new and shiny, I see a rake and call it a rake.
My conclusion then is simple. There are reasons to be politically correct and to be politically incorrect. Add the importance of historical awareness and context and you have to make choices. Every person and group will at one point be offended so there is no pleasing everybody it seems. Additionally there is the matter of hype and attention. My attitude towards historical awareness and political correctness is to stay thoughtful and pragmatic.
Think and make a choice. A strong signal or much noise…