Nobody Is “Shaming” You: Has Political Correctness Turned Us Into A Hypersensitive Society?

April 29, 2016  |  

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Being politically correct was intended to encourage tact and sensitivity to others people’s feelings regarding issues of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and such. In this day and age, you must be politically correct, but do we as a society take it too far? When did we get so soft? Has political correctness gotten out of hand?

I was having a conversation a few days ago with some friends about how we’ve become so sensitive to many truths. Nowadays, everything is more than likely to be labeled as “shaming” if you’re on the so-called “wrong” side of the fence. We’ve gotten to a place where we’d rather not address elephants in the room for fear of being labeled a shamer or a basher. A place that inhibits any meaningful discussion of diversity issues to keep racial, gender, and other barriers in place. We’ve adopted this mindset where if we hear something that offends us, our first instinct is to gather up a crowd and make a public spectacle of it. We’ve become so over the top that we’re either “too radical” for speaking out on certain issues or censored in fear of being called out for talking about them. There are so many “narratives” that we wish to change in this world, but we can’t change them without fixing the problems, and we can’t identify the problems if we’re too scared to talk about theories, ideas and the reality of what is.

It’s like, let’s not talk to the person who’s overweight about healthy eating and nutrition and exercise, even if it is constructive because we don’t want to make them feel bad, and we don’t want them to feel ashamed of themselves. However, on the flipside, we wish to change the narrative of obesity among several different demographics. Let’s not talk to our sexually indiscriminate friend about the health hazards of their lifestyle because we don’t want them to feel bad and less liberated when it comes to their sexuality. Let’s instead, build anti-shaming platforms around each topic to, in turn, encourage the power of choice to their possibly detrimental lifestyle habits. It’s the society we live in currently where we’d rather protect people’s feeling than create comfortable and safe spaces to have uncomfortable, but necessary conversations. We are becoming a society full of persecutors. If you’re a White person in this day and age, you shouldn’t be making comments about racial or cultural issues according to political correctness because there’s a belief that something is going to be said that has an underlying bias. If you’re an upper or middle-class citizen, you shouldn’t be making comments about the work ethic or condition of those in the lower working class according to political correctness because it’s safe to assume that something will be said that is offensive and elitist. Everyone says we need to start and have tough conversations, but nobody feels comfortable engaging in them because of political correctness.

I think that present issues revolving around race, gender and politics in this country are to blame for a society that walks around on eggshells. We are afraid to address real problems in fear of sparking controversy or getting a negative reception. According to Neil Howe, a writer for Forbes, the current incarnation of the movement, however, is focused inward. Political correctness policies today are supported and reinforced by a victimhood culture that transcends ideology. We miss the cold hard facts because we’re too busy playing the victim and being offended by something that appeared to contain bias.

Political correctness is like that encased fire extinguisher with the sign that says “Break in case of fire.” It’s the wet blanket that puts a damper on the opinions of others if there’s even the slightest bit of racial, gender, or cultural bias present. Why have we become such a touchy society where people aren’t allowed to share opposing beliefs, thoughts and ideas without it sparking a mass protest or social media-wide bashing? The more sensitive we all become, the more difficult it will be to resolve the large issues that are plaguing us. 

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