There seems to be a heighten awareness and an equally raised level of self-appointed judgement privileges going on in my local society currently. The quagmire of not offending anyone has meant that important conversations are not being had because those with a voice, myself included, are treading an ever-thinning line between politically correct and being berated and in some cases, abused publicly.
The social sensitivities of race, religion, gender, sex and the sub-spectrums of those are so amplified that the topics that should be discussed in a robust yet respectful manner are not being addressed because the backlash is violently out of proportion. For fear of retribution at the highest levels, those of us who are convicted to address social sicknesses are disempowered on all fronts and silence is our only safety.
In simple terms, there is a pervasive lack of reason being applied to anything that borders on the sensitive. And the result? All that can be discussed is the weather as long as there is no reference to the colour of the sky. Truth, knowledge and opinion are being blended together in the Nutribullet of social commentary.
Have we completely forgotten to activate empathy even when it may be hard to do? Have we begun completely disregarding context and the role that it plays in understanding events and those involved?
During my studies we completed a course on the Theory of Knowledge, and a nugget that stuck with me throughout the years of being in education was that knowledge is based must constitute of 4 things- facts provided in evidence, belief, truth and experience. Belief on its own does not constitute a fact nor does it constitute knowledge. The quality of these 4 elements also aids the credibility of the knowledge.
What we are seeing in the intense reactions to social sensitivities is an over-emphasis on belief and the disregarding of the place of experience (context) and the lack of truth substantiated by evidence. And there are some very skilled political ring leaders that would have a free society disempowering themselves by ignoring their ability to reasonably consider evidence, apply contextual influences, acknowledge beliefs and how they influence perception and respect experiences, even though they may differ.
Edmund Burke said it best. “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do (say) nothing…” With this in mind, when good men are damned if they speak up but the emotional landmines are plentiful and unavoidable, the only safety is in silence.
What are the possible scenarios of a continued state of political correctness being set above addressing hard topics?
In short, we become a society with a distinct inability to take a good hard look at ourselves and understand that our sensitivities are sometimes, just that. Our own!