Today’s thought experiment is on sensitivity, including the issues we personally feel sensitive about as well as being sensitive to how your words and actions affect other people. The latter shouldn’t really be controversial, but somehow is.
We have this idea in society that sensitivity is childish and shameful. “Thin-skinned” people are generally mocked for their inability to handle “criticism.” The typical response when people ask for more care and sensitivity in a certain area goes something like, “suck it up – no one is hurting you. You need thicker skin.” And then they proceed to poke the wound they’ve already made, telling you you’ll form a callous eventually, when in reality they are making what may have begun as a minor cut into a gaping, bloody hole that may never properly heal.
I was going to write something about political correctness as it relates to sensitivity, then I got side-tracked looking for an image I’d seen on Facebook and came across this wonderfully awesome series of posts from the Radical Copyeditor. I won’t mess with perfection – do yourself a favor and read the whole series.
“Politically correct.” It’s a term used widely by everyone from right-wing pundits to preachers to diversity trainers, and pops up in myriad scenarios. It’s every bit as loaded as a baked potato, but nowhere near as delicious.
I’m here with a message about “politically correct” for folks like me who want to use language in ways that increase respect, rather than deepen divides. To quote the great Inigo Montoya, I do not think it means what you think it means.
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