I was teased as a kid.  Some days were better than others and some others weren’t so great, but the fact is that from the time I entered first grade through high school graduation, there was something in me which drew the jibes, catcalls and slanders from my fellow students.  Somehow I was different, though exactly how I had no idea back then.  This whole business was made worse by the fact that for a great deal of that time, I was hyper-sensitive to that kind of abuse and could not control my reactions to it.  Quite naturally, this only encouraged my assailants to pursue my goat all the more energetically and frequently with similar levels of success.  I was well into my adult years before I had even begun to get a handle on how to face such attacks and recognize them for the incoherent noise that they were.

More recently we’ve seen the advent of political correctness, the attempts to soften speech in consideration for those who don’t deal well with unfiltered reality, with harsh facts or people.  We hear terms like “safe spaces” and pejoratives such as “special snowflakes” with regard to couching solutions for those who find the latent or blatant hostility around them too much to bear.

Obviously, I know something about that.  At the risk of recycling an old trope: been there, done that, the t-shirt’s a rag.  Back when I had to plow through the slings and arrows proffered by my fellows, the PC concept was as non-existent as any organized program with the goal of countering bullying behavior.  The kids who heckled me didn’t give a damn about how I felt about their harassment, and any downside to their behavior never reached my awareness.  In fact, when confronted with my situation, most of the school’s teachers and administrators acknowledged that they were largely powerless to take any meaningful action which would put an end to their behavior.  Worth mentioning too is the shrink I saw twice a week for too many years.  Though he did his level best, I can’t say that his input especially aided me or improved things much if at all.  In the final analysis, I just slogged through it.  It was neither easy nor painless, and yeah, there were plenty of scars, but I survived.

Reflecting on all of this, I realize that I have been a long time learning the following two lessons:

  • The world is not safe.
  • The world cannot be made safe for everyone.

Twenty-first century Planet Earth is probably more civilized than it has been at any time in its 4.5 billion years.  Violence – aggression of human against human – is at its lowest point in the history of Homo sapiens.  It is entirely likely that the human race will do even better as time goes on.  But … will we ever fully purge the desire or the tendency of one to act out on another, whether verbally or physically?  Honestly, I am dubious.

As for what this means for those who want the world to recognize and respect their sensitivities, all I have to say is this.  Some of the world may be willing to change for them, but all of it?  Never.  Won’t happen.  Political correctness and safe spaces are short term Band-Aids at best.  At some point or other, they can either learn to value themselves sufficiently and develop the strength necessary to defend against their opposition or resign themselves to living with the pain the noisemakers wish to inflict.

It's not a pretty solution ... but then it's not a safe world.

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Comment by BenGee on March 8, 2017 at 5:24pm
Wrote that on my phone apologise for the weird errors.
Comment by BenGee on March 8, 2017 at 5:23pm
Joan, I totally agree a society has a ethical responsibility to each other. The idea what everyone is "self made" is a lie. No matter how independent you are you've had to interact with others, and that means cooperation, accepting their offers that are beneficial to you. Lying and saying all people must do it alone encourages a world that treats some humans as a burden or worthless despite the fact that no one has obtained success without the help of others. It's similar to a sharp shooter fallacy ignoring all the help you've recieved over the years so you can feel better denying that to others, so you can feel superior to the. When they inevitably fall and you don't. It's messed up. It's desirable for all of us to work together. Still forcing thought and speech control is a direct issue to me. I'm against it when Christians do it and I'm adding it when any other ideological group tries to subjugate all of us to impose their morality. And that's really what this is.

It would seem that your position and mine are reasonably similar. I love hearing your thoughts, thank you for adding them :)
Comment by Joan Denoo on March 8, 2017 at 1:08pm

I could not post on earlier pages, so am coming to the front of the line, hopefully, to get my ideas into the ether. 

Loren, I agree, individuals have to learn to take care of themselves. For those who have mental or physical disabilities, there either needs to be remedial training or financial and social support from the community. 

There also needs to be efforts to find out the causes of the disabilities and find resources to either eliminate the cause or treat the condition. We are not born equal, physically and mentally, and that needs factoring into the system. 

Families often become bankrupted by health costs. As a society, we either let the bankrupted families sink under the burden, or share the costs of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. 

Individuals with initiative, ambition, motivation, and resourcefulness exist like cream floating on milk and deserve compensation for their efforts. Individuals who lack such attributes naturally fall through the net, they will take the jobs that require little training. The privileged who receive support, not because of their character, but because of their inheritance, will always be with us. I, for one, have little respect for lazy scions. 

Parents need training so that we do not raise emotionally handicapped children. Teachers need to understand how to develop individual talents, whether they come from privilege or poverty. 

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on March 8, 2017 at 12:34pm

I find the whole notion of political correctness intriguing because it’s become a shibboleth for both the left and the right. Also because it’s complete bullshit. The Guardian made a pretty good case imho for the contention that the great wave of anti-political correctness sentiment was instrumental in igniting *45’s campaign success.

The article also provides an extremely detailed history of the use of the term, contending that most Americans hadn’t heard the phrase pc until 1990. Interestingly, Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect ran from 1993 - 2002

Comment by BenGee on March 8, 2017 at 12:09pm

Lauren, i suspect people who live like that, who are over easily offended have a few motives going on. 

1. They never learned to control their emotions. And if you talk to them about controlling their emotions they will go bat shit crazy on you. I know I've lost a number of friends over that debate. I tell them that your emotions are the deepest most honest part of who you are, its totally ok to have emotions, that does not mean that your emotions are always right. At the end of the day its your rational mind that must come first, not your emotion. After I say this they never speak with me again. Keep in mind I'm not an ass I don't say this when they are distressed, we talk about it starting from a calm place but they are so threatened by the idea that controlling your emotions is a desirable state that they won't even stand to be around someone who thinks about their feelings and places thought above emotion.

I'll have to continue later, customer is outside. take care.

Comment by Loren Miller on March 8, 2017 at 11:09am

John, I just checked: your grade is 25%.  You might want to use second or third gear climbing it! [na-nu, na-nu!]

Comment by John Elder on March 8, 2017 at 11:05am

Ok, and while you  are at it can you tell me what my grade for the semester might be and whether this material will be on the test?    ;-)

Comment by Loren Miller on March 8, 2017 at 7:57am

John, don't worry.  I'll grade your comments and hand them back to you before your last class today! [chuckle!]

There does indeed need to be an intelligent response to the whole PC business which has apparently been running rampant on university campuses in the US.  The issue of "feeling secure" is a wide open one, too, as there is a considerable difference between protecting students from assault and rape and guarding against what they may think of as untoward language.  Regarding that, I recently unearthed a quote which speaks to this whole magilla:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Indeed, no one can make you feel ANYTHING, positive or negative, without your approval. Those who react badly to words spoken need to ask themselves a very simple and non-trivial question:

WHY AM I GIVING THIS PERSON POWER OVER ME?

Comment by John Elder on March 8, 2017 at 7:15am

Excuse all my typos - I am hurrying this morning and it shows badly

Comment by John Elder on March 8, 2017 at 7:13am

Listen folks, I am in a university - It is hard to find a more PC, touchy feely environment than this. I am constantly at odds with it here. For example, I have to defend one colleague who is from another culture entirely and has some problems with  English as a second language. Several female faculty were talking in the mail room about a recent party. He made a comment saying int must have been "faculty gone wild" - a loose reference to the lame videos : "Girls gone wild". There was an email war for about a week over it and the poor bugger never did know what he did wrong. But that made absolutely no difference to the offended. 

Perhaps even worse, during one of the moronic campus carry episodes down here our campus descended into near hysteria of PCness.  I read the proposed bill and there was nothing in it about concealed weapons on campus what so ever. What the bill proposed was giving university presidents the right to allow or dis allow weapons on campus for specific purposes and to give them the legal right or enforce their decisions. As in for competition purposes like biathlon and target shooting, both recognized Olympic sports. The current laws effectively  forbade those sports since Georgia campuses are gun free zones, no exceptions. I tell you this so you understand just how ridiculous the PC movement can be here. One professor lea a campus outcry and organized large numbers of hysterical protesters afraid that at hand guns would be in every class room if the bill was passed. I tried to argue that a more reasonable approach would be to actually read the bill and then decide on a more reasonable stance. It ended in an argument when this fellow told me, an I quote: that his "constitutional right to security outweighed the second amendment right to bear arms". Now irrespective of one's view on the 2nd or guns, what is wrong with that statement? And he was a history professor? He hasn't spoken to me since I suggested he actually bother to read the bill and ESPECIALLY to rad the Constitution. The PC faction was actually arguing that they had a Constitutional right to "feel secure" . I have looked forward t retirement ever since. 

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