- Books, Literature, and Writing
Personally Correct Conversation
We are too sensitive as a society today. The whole Politically Correct speech or conversation is too limiting. As an open society, we want to hear all ideas and opinions. It is also healthy to discuss them in an open forum. I came up with a new term in place of PC, and I call it Personally Correct Conversation.
- Nov. 2017
Because of the political divide in our country, we are often faced with self censorship in a social forum. This is fine on holiday get together with families and avoiding controvertial topics but I personally think it is unhealthy to not discuss ideas and opinions in social gatherings. How do we advance as a nation and a society if certain topics are off the table. I include religion and politics and social ideas in this group. You can only talk about the weather for so long and we can't change the weather.
For example, I am part of a writers group that meets voluntarily at our local library twice a month. We try and help each other with our writing skills and make positive critique and suggestions to the authors. When a controversial topic comes up, the moderator try to stir the conversation away from the substance of the piece and try to steer it to the style and tone. This is fine for the most part but yet it sidestep the controversy that is very real and has real implications in our society. I much rather discuss the subject matter head on and debate the merits of certain policies that affect all of us. By not discussing them, we cannot make progress, even though some are calling themselves the "progressive" party.
A Real Example...
Recently, I made a comment in response to some's post on FaceBook regarding the NFL protest by some of the players. It started a conversation and debate on this topic among strangers. Even though no conclusion was reached, it allowed each side to offer their perspective and includes their personal life experences. It provided a deeper understanding for all on the issues at hand. Even though no one changed their mind on this, we walked away knowing more about ourselves and about how other's feel and think. All this is for the better in my opinion rather than not discussing it.
As a student of history, I can see what is going on in academia and the media is not healthy. There is a tendency by some to reject the notion of free speech. They created a new class called "micro aggression." If someone voice a different opinion than they have, they take offense to it and try to shut down the debate. They will even resort to violence. That is not how a civilized society should behave.
We see the start of free speech zones on college campuses and violent protests to shut down speakers that they disagree. This is not how a free society should work.
Some Topics of Personally Correct Conversation
Here is a prime example of what I am talking about. In one of the sessions at our writers group, the topic of a submitted piece dealty with a dysfuctional family member. The piece talks about the problems this person faced and how she is faced with poverty and lack of education and poor employment being a single mom and relying on public assistance...some medical issues and mental problems. The piece of writing was very detailed and personal and I am sure an accurate rendition. However, what is lacking is the cause. The author does not make the connection between this family member's tribulations and the choices she made and the public policies that allow this to go on for generations.
I would have liked this piece of writing to stir a debate about our society and how we help enabled this type of behavior. So, even a personal essay about a real life experience can be a teaching moment about our current state of affairs with our government and policies. The implications is wide ranging. It covers social welfare, public education system, mental health and religious and personal behavior.
Sometimes, we ask the wrong questions and therefore miss the big picture. In the case of a teenage single mom trying to raise children out of wedlock...the question should be what public polices led to this condition? Not how our society can do to help the women and her children. Yes, we will help her and her children but that by itself will do nothing to address the underlying cause. How can we solve a crisis when we don't discuss the underlying cause and seek out possible solutions?
A Personally Correct Converstion...
To follow up on the previous discussion, here is the conversation I would have wanted to happen.
1. How did this women ended up being a single mom, without a good education and living off public assistance?
2. How our public welfare system either failed her or enabled her?
3. How our public education system failed her?
4. Where were the parents and other family members? Why did they not intervene earlier to help her?
5. Where is her personal responsibility? As a teenager, she should have learned about life and making good choices. Everyone make mistakes. That is how we learn. Once a mistake was made, did she learn from it and try to do better next time?
A PC Viewpoint
Instead of the above, a PC approach is that she is an adult. We cannot judge her. She is a victim of circumstance. We need to help her. Give her free housing, free food, child services, and all kinds of public assistance so that she can continue in her state and perhaps have a few more kids out of wedlock. It is a compassionate society that take care of the needy and the sick and the disadvantaged. We are a compassionate people. We need to tax the rich and redistribute the wealth so that we have social justice and equality. Does this sound familiar?
In this essay, I tried to make the case that discussing issues is good even controvertial topics. Be respectful and present your arguments logically. The arena of ideas should be openly discussed. That is how we move forward and make progress.
© 2017 Jack Lee