Every now and then I find it useful to take a little step back and look at things through the eyes of someone without the life experiences and natural bias of someone my age having successfully not fallen off this floating rock in space. It was so satisfying when, through sheer luck, I had the opportunity to meet a young man named Naif, who was from the island of Bodho (some 25 miles southeast of Birubegja) while I was on a ferry heading to Tortola. This was his first trip off-island so we talked about the world and its inhabitants.
We talked about many things, from the state of his native island and its relationship in the world to which country exported the best little umbrella decorate fancy drinks. Somehow between the third and fourth rum punch the topic of political correctness came up. Naif asked me what it was and I had a tough time forming an adequate explanation.
At first I told him that it was an effort by society as a whole not to offend anyone. But then I realized that simply wasn’t true. I’d been exposed to hundreds of situations whereby people who labeled themselves as politically correct would gather together and metaphorically disembowel someone not believing exactly the same level of political correctness as them. No, it had to be something else.
So then I tried to explain that it was a series of commonly held beliefs in society. Well, that wasn’t it either, because some politically correct beliefs started out by strange celebrities and people just sort of got caught up in it and thought it was popular to think that way. People didn’t dare speak out against those ideas because they would immediately be called “uncool.”
Having become quickly discouraged by my complete and utter inability to explain political correctness, I just shrugged my shoulders and told Naif that political correctness was like an organism that latches onto some idea that was, at one time, useful and a good thing for society. As the organism kept using the idea, it was morphed and became something that was undesirable but couldn’t be stopped.
Naif smiled and told me that he understood now. He had examples of those very kinds of organisms on his island of Bodho. I asked him what they were called.
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