I’ve spent the past few days researching articles about political correctness, in hopes that they were going to help me approach this topic in a non-triggering way.
A gigantic oxymoron: trying to talk about why I don’t write about triggering subjects, in a non-triggering way.
“Should I put a ‘trigger warning’ at the beginning of this? Or maybe, should I not write about this topic at all? I know it’s going to make people uncomfortable, annoyed and, perhaps, hateful towards me.” Thoughts like these cross my mind as I try to approach this delicately.
Be warned, then: Nothing that follows is going to be handled delicately.
As you may or may not know, I’m a University student, majoring in English Literature and Philosophy. Both of these subjects tackle what most people refer to as ‘sensitive’ topics such as race, politics, religion, ethical issues, etc. Most of the material we study doesn’t shy away from those topics. For example, in the first and second semester of my second year in English Literature, we got to study The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, Heart of Darkness by Conrad and The Pillowman by McDonagh. I heard many of my fellow students object to the selection of texts on the grounds that they “are triggering towards people of color/democrats/victims of child abuse.”
As you can clearly see, I’m currently in an environment where there’s not enough room for the discussion of issues and the expression of opinions that make one uncomfortable or are ‘unpopular’.
People tend to jump directly on what the majority currently supports, therefore lacking the ability to have an opinion of their own. Or there are people, like me, that simply hesitate to talk about what they believe, in fear of it having an effect on their future. Apparently, if you publicly express an opinion that doesn’t coincide with the popular one, you might be let off your job or might not be able to find one at all, ever!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m of the firm belief that it’s common sense to be a decent human being, thus, not be racist, fascist or hurtful towards any human being. So, as long as you are not aiming a personal attack on anyone, you should be free to express your thoughts and opinions. Again, there’s an issue of what “not hurting anyone” means. Micro-agressions have been added to this category, limiting freedom of speech even more. At this point, I think that people are looking for things to be offended by. They want to be offended or hurt or whatever. As a result, there’s no room for free thought or speech, since every thought or outward expression thereof, is automatically filtered through the ‘political correctness’ filter.
I find myself not really wanting to touch base on subjects like politics, ethics, religion etc., scared of a potential long-term effect (plus, I don’t really enjoy confrontation for not being ‘woke’ enough).
Why do we cultivate this fear of confronting and being confronted because of wanting to constantly be politically correct? Why do we shy away from calling things as they are? I’m well aware that not everyone abides by the ‘decent human being’-rule, but so what? Why are we so scared of accepting that there are people who hold extreme views in this world? No matter how hard we try to make everyone ‘woke’, to the point of converting every single piece of information to a diluted, munched-on version of the ugly truth, there are still going to be people holding extreme views and acting on them.
Rather than avoiding unpopular opinions, we should educate ourselves on them and learn to form a viewpoint of our own. It’s not avoiding being politically correct; it’s simply learning how to have an open-minded and well-rounded opinion.