Friday, September 30, 2016

Political Correctness and Truth

Yeah, I know that title is going to be a bit inflammatory, and everyone knows what they expect when they see it up there. But that's okay.

My topic is really about such things.

I want you to consider:

  • Saying hurtful things
  • Not being politically correct
  • Telling the truth
What I want you to consider is that these are three entirely orthogonal concepts. One can make statements which are any one of the above, without being the others.  

One may easily say offensive things which are entirely politically correct. It's a common event on the internet to see people shaming others in the name of Political Correctness (which should be all about being fair and kind to others, but outrage is virtue these days). Some of the shaming statements could be true, and some could not be true. 

One can certainly state truths in kind ways, full of compassion and empathy. Even ugly truths can be delivered in considerate ways. 

One can say things that are true and not PC, but they don't have to be said in a way that is deliberately hurtful. 

I'm only bringing this up because I keep seeing a growth in people saying hurtful things and claiming that they're true because they're not PC. 

And I see growth in people saying hurtful things because they are PC. And because they're PC, claiming the power of truth.

Offensiveness is not evidence of correctness.

I'm very concerned to see people look for others' hurt feelings as confirmation of the rightness of their position. Being cruel is a far cry from being right.

And of course, "telling the truth" is a ticklish thing in the best of times. Truth is more present in mathematical formulae than in human interaction.  What I think is true is subject to so many biases and conflicting theories and personal imperfections.  

And yet, I hear things being said about groups or demographics or whole populations that are hurtful, are not politically correct, and are far from certainty or truth.

I suppose I would like everything I say or hear to be authentically what the speaker believes, while being as kind and empathetic as possible, and not worry about how it plays in PC.

But if one doesn't have certainty in their virtues of kindness and curiosity as "true north" values, then I see value in at least observing and considering Political Correctness in public discourse.

This post is 
  • intended as non-hurtful (let me know if it's so)
  • pretty safe, in a PC kind of way
  • authentic,  and "true" as far as I can tell