Traditionalism and the Rise of PC Culture (and why I'm here for it)
Have you ever been in a situation where someone remarks to you, "Everyone is so sensitive nowadays!" or, "You just can't make jokes like you used to." or, "Everything has to be so PC today, I'm tired of these PC Police."
Have you? I have. Maybe you feel that way, too.
These sentiments come from everywhere. I see them from different races, genders, classes— a lot of people have a bone to pick with political correctness.
But what does that mean? When a man talks about the Weinstein/Hollywood sexual assault drama and says, "I miss the good old days when you could smack your secretary on the behind." I wonder— who were those old days good for?
When a girl decked out in a headdress, leather skirt and face paint for Halloween complains, "It's just a costume! Why is everyone so sensitive now?" I think— was everyone happy before now?
Finally, if a person insists we need to, "Make America Great Again," I ask— when was it great and who was it great for?
America is 241 years old. In those 241 years, it has thrived on slavery, jim crow law, lynching, black codes, internment camps, mass incarceration, the Great Depression, prejudice, racism, and discrimination. And those overlapped in time periods— so which time are people specifically referencing as the era in which everyone was happy and nothing was offensive?
Hint: That time period does not exist.
What these statements truly mean are: Why can't I say or do something wrong and get away with it anymore? Why can't I say racist things and have people laugh at it instead of attacking me? Why can't I catcall that girl (making her feel unsafe and uncomfortable) without being called a misogynist?
These ideas of missing a time before really grind my gears because they're blanket statements. They lack critical thinking. They lack historical knowledge. And they still get repeated over and over again.
To answer the question that a lot of people seem to be asking: the answer lies in storytelling.
As technology advances and globalization becomes easier and easier, everyone is listening to one another's stories. People have the capability to say, "Hey! I don't like it when I'm walking my dog and a man tries to cat call me or assault me!" And other people can hear that story and say, "Hey! #MeToo!" (Here's a twitter thread depicting this exact scenario)
As more people realize #ThemToo, they begin to understand that this concept they've put forward is a real issue that we shouldn't tolerate. The world gets a little more understanding (and I would argue, more civilized), and people who don't become more understanding get called out.
This is why it's so important to call out these things when you see them. Don't let your coworker slide when they make homophobic remarks. Don't let your classmate think their racist joke is funny. I guarantee it ain't.
In that same vein, never stop telling others your truth and never stop LISTENING. That time that people speak about— the enigmatic "before" when racism, sexism, homophobia etc were all fine and dandy— that time only existed because it silenced others. It silenced women. It silenced minorities. It silenced so many. Now that our voices can carry further to a wider audience— don't let them fade into invisibility and marginalization! Use your voice. Listen to others'.
This weird emphasis we place on traditionalism is, in my opinion, obsolete. From an evolutionary standpoint I understand why people would say, "This is how things worked in the past, this is how we should act now." But context is ever shifting, and we need to account for more people's ideas and truths.
We need to be innovative and compassionate as we begin to widen what it means to be human and what a human experience even is. As the Bible says over and over, constantly reminding us: we need to love one another.