I’ve been told many times that I’m overly sensitive and that I’m too worried about being politically correct. I’ve seen the same criticisms online. People claiming that by watching our language, being inclusive, and reforming traditional laws, we are now opening up a world for overly sensitive people who get offended by everything. My question to anyone who feels this way is: what makes you think the way it has always been done, is the right way of doing anything?
I watched a movie from the late 90’s the other day. I was shocked by how many times the characters in the movie called each other “gay” or a “fag” (the worst of the “F” words) for being afraid of something or not wanting to partake in the situation. I never noticed this language when I was living during that time because it never stood out to me. No one told me it was offensive or rude. I likely used this language too without thinking twice about how it could seriously affect someone. It really made me realize how far we have come in the past 15 years (ugh, really, it’s taking this long?) building inclusiveness, acceptance, and equality for the LGBTQ community. These words are now considered politically incorrect and I cringe every time I hear them being used in a derogatory way.
By thinking about how my words or actions could seriously affect someone else in a negative way, I’m further motivated to continue to watch my language. I’m not being overly sensitive, I’m being inclusive, compassionate, caring, empathetic, and kind. All of those good things we should all strive to be to ourselves and to each other.
I’ve seen and heard people say that they feel they have to tip-toe around because they are worried about offending someone. Good! You should always recognize your audience and think about who you are speaking to. For years we have oppressed one another, judged one another, and belittled one another with our language and behaviour. To say that change is a bad thing? I don’t buy it.
I think we’re moving towards a society that acknowledges differences and celebrates them. I’m excited to say I was alive to see the United States make marriage legal for everyone, not just limiting it to hetero couples. I was alive when the confederate flag was removed from the Capitol in South Carolina and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I was alive to see a transgender person accept an award for courage at an event for sports that have largely been male-dominated and homophobic throughout history.
These events have nothing to do with succumbing to sensitive people. They are about realizing that our old ways were wrong. Differences between people do exist, from race, to gender, to sexuality, and go even further to intersect with culture, religion, economic status and sex. Unfortunately, with a lot of these, (well, most of these) differences, there are huge inequities that exist as well.
It’s no surprise that we are experiencing so much change. I think people of oppressed groups are tired of being walked on and ignored. For example, with the recent resurgence of the women’s movement and feminism, we’ve also seen an attack on feminism. People are scared of change and feel threatened that by making space for others, we take away space for ourselves. Sorry guys, but change is a part of life. I know it sucks that by allowing equality to exist, we can no longer ride the privilege wave that we have so comfortably nestled into, but it’s so necessary and so overdue.
So to all of you people who try to tell me, and others, that I’m too sensitive and too worried about being politically correct, maybe you should look intrinsically and think about all of the people you’re shitting on with your traditional views and fear of change.