As you can probably tell from the title, I’m not exactly a fan of the current political correctness sensation that’s sweeping the nation, or PC as the kids are calling it these days. Being a 22-year-old recent college graduate puts me right in the middle of things so I see it on a day-to-day basis. I also want to talk about the concept of being a “tolerant” person and how that term has become a bit of a paradox these days. I feel they go hand in hand and need to be addressed simultaneously.
I believe there is a bit of a misconception nowadays when it comes to the term tolerance. A lot of people, especially people my age, believe that being tolerant involves things such as supporting gay marriage, declaring a jihad on “offensive” words such as faggot and retarded, and believing that Bruce (yes, Bruce) Jenner is a beautiful woman and a hero who should be accepted and loved by everyone. These all sound like pretty tolerant ideas, right? Not necessarily. Let’s add a little fun to the mix. What happens when you introduce somebody that does not conform to these ideas of “tolerance” and has opinions that are different from these “tolerant” people? THEY ARE VERBALLY CRUCIFIED. People claim to be tolerant and supporting of everything…until they’re not anymore.
Supporting Bruce Jenner’s decision then ridiculing somebody that does not care for or about it is the opposite of tolerance. So I’m sure you’re dying to know; how do I define tolerance? True tolerance is understanding that people have different views than you and accepting that as their own right. Accepting their right to have and voice these opinions freely. People are going to have differing views and say things that you don’t agree with. It’s just the way it is. I personally do not find Bruce Jenner to be a hero and that’s okay! It’s just my opinion and has no effect on anybody else. I don’t try to force everyone that does find him to be a hero to conform to my way of thinking about it and I expect nothing but the same in return. I don’t really care if people are supporting these things, I just care that it’s all gratuitously shoved in my face day after day. But that’s another conversation for a different day.
The other side of being politically correct is being offended by EVERYTHING. It has spawned a generation of people who get offended by things that do not even apply to them personally, yet they still feel the need to insert their offended opinions wherever they can. Nobody is allowed to make jokes anymore because of how “offensive” they all are. Whatever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” Is it against the rules to be a strong person that is unfazed by the occasional joke these days? Stop being so concerned about what others are saying. People are going to make jokes and say things that aren’t politically correct sometimes. It’s just how it is and how it always has been. If you are so fragile at 19 years old that you need a “safe space” to retreat to because you were “triggered” by seeing “TRUMP 2016” written on the ground in chalk…the real world is going to be quite a kick in the teeth for you. Triggered doesn’t mean what you think it means. They’re just words, people. Your feelings will be okay. Trust me.
I also want to touch on something that I feel is a very relevant point brought up by All That Remains front man Phil Labonte. As I mentioned, the go-to phrase for a “tolerant” person when they hear something that upsets them is, “That’s offensive.” I know this because that statement may or may not have been directed at me a few times. Offensive is an extremely relative term. Offensive to whom? Everybody is going to be offended by something, so by that right, should we just never speak? What I find offensive may be completely irrelevant to somebody else. There is no catch-all rule for “universally offensive” phrases. As much as the PC crowd may not like it, the First Amendment does still exist and non-politically correct speech is protected under that umbrella. It’s good to hear things you don’t agree with all the time…it builds character.
Freedom of speech is not founded on “say whatever you want as long as the rest of us agree with it”. Freedom of speech is the encouragement to develop and voice your own ideas and beliefs and not have to be afraid to make them heard. It was one of the main principles that this country was founded on and one of the things that helped our exponential rise to greatness. It’s the first amendment in the Bill of Rights for God’s sake! I fear that freedom of speech is something that we are losing with the influx of “being tolerant” and being politically correct. People are being shamed into not speaking out with different ideas and being condemned for thinking differently at all. If you come out with an idea that goes against the PC crowd’s, you are demonized relentlessly. This is not freedom of speech and it must be stopped. What’s the benefit of having a society where everybody has the same exact view on everything anyway? It’s a direct impediment to progress and growth. I’m not saying have a different opinion and shove it down people’s throats, but speak your mind and open a dialogue…an actual two-way dialogue with differing views.
Anybody that knows me well knows I have no problem speaking my mind and I encourage everybody else to do the same. Speak out against something if you don’t agree with it. You’ll be helping yourself and others by really making people think through their beliefs by having to defend them. Be different. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind just because these PC crusaders and social justice warriors shamelessly try to beat your opinions into submission. Standing up for your beliefs will always triumph over this baseless effort to control your thoughts. Allowing everybody to think and speak for themselves again is the beginning to getting out of this current predicament that we face.
(All opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not reflect the views of other writers for Let Me B-Frank).