By Nick Henry
I'm over political correctness. You want to know why? Because it's stupid. I can identify someone by an obvious identifier tag without impugning their character or casting aspersions on them, or the group behind that identifier. And I do not have to choose - and yes, it's a choice - to be offended when someone does the same to me. "You know, Nick. Asian fella. Likes hockey." If those qualifiers separate me from other Nicks in your circle of friends, what's wrong with using them? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
You know what else is needless babying of people? Having to worry that I might offend someone by saying "Merry Christmas" if they don't believe in the nativity of the Christ Child. Unless you walk around wearing a sign that identifies you as a believer of a different religion - and I think we can all appreciate the dark history of that kind of campaign - then how am I supposed to know? You know what would be offensive "Hey you LOOK like you might be Hindi, so I'm going to make sure I say 'Happy holidays' instead." If you think about it, it's far less-offensive to think "I didn't want to profile you, and I wanted to spread the positive feelings appropriate to the current season, so I just said 'Merry Christmas' and trusted that you weren't some kind of religiously insecure baby."
To be fair, there are words and phrases to which we have generally accepted some ascribed pejorative value to over time, that should probably be respected. The N-word, when directed at an black person, should be a no-fly zone for most of us. The F-word, when directed at a homosexual, too. And, if you're using those words not directed at a black person, or a gay person, you need to recalibrate your "cool" meter. So, I'm not saying there aren't exceptions. But to me there's a difference between politically correct and being an anti-social asshole.
And that's the crux of it for me. I was talking about this with a friend of mine recently, and I realized that I really have one metric for whether or not I want to hang out with someone: the asshole factor. I don't care what color you are, what religion you are, who you love, what your IQ is, what your job title is, how much money you have. Just don't be an asshole. If you're a non-asshole gay person, I'm happy to hang out. If you're an asshole straight person, go away.
The beauty of this attitude is that it allows me to be judgmental of my fellow man. Let's face it, we're all judgmental. Why try to supress it? There's a difference between thinking something negative and acting on it, no? Sure, that's a fine line and a slippery slope. But instead of wasting your energy pretending you're not thinking those things, or trying to stop thinking them, how about spend your energy making sure you don't act on them?
This post is getting a little big for its britches. So let me go back to the main point: don't be an asshole. Don't be a baby. Treat each other like rational people. Respect will flow from that.
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