What role does political correctness
play during the holidays?
Political correctness or “PC” is “the attitude or policy of being careful not to offend or upset any group of people in society who are believed to have a disadvantage.”
Since we are all minorities in one way or another, or disadvantaged in one way or another, we can twist ourselves into knots trying not to offend someone and at the same time expressing ourselves honestly.
Some cartoons I recently came across showed how easy it is to offend someone when we are simply trying to wish others well during this season — a time that is intended to be more peaceful and to bring people together.
Here are three I particularly liked.
In the first panel of a comic strip a smiling woman wishes a man “Happy Holidays.” In response he smiles and says “Merry Christmas.”
In the next panel she is a little annoyed and with a frown says, “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” and he says “MERRY CHRISTMAS.”
In the next panel she shouts “HAPPY *#&!! HOLIDAYS!” He shouts, “MERRY @&$#*! CHRISTMAS!”
In the final panel they are fighting each other on the ground under a banner proclaiming “Peace on Earth.”
A greeting card offers you categories in which you can express appropriate greetings to the person to whom it is sent. There are blanks for the name of the person and then small boxes where can indicate your sentiments.
I/We ____________________________ wish _______________________ a:
____ Very Merry ____ Happy ____ Joyous ____ Season’s ____ Quasi ____ Feliz
____ Christmas ____ Holidays ____ Noel ____ Greetings ____ Kwanzaa ____ Hannukah ____ Navidad
Two workers are painting a billboard. The man on the left, with “Signs ‘R’ Us” on the back of his shirt, has written tall letters of MERRY C, with half an “H” painted red. The man on the right, with “Signs of the Times” has painted half of the “H” in green and then “OLIDAYS” in green.
They are standing beneath the sign glaring at one another.
I also found cards, cartoons and signs that poke fun at the PC problem by trying to not offend anyone:
“Happy Whatever Doesn’t Offend You”
“I’m dreaming of a colored, nondenominational, politically correct happy holiday”
“Please enjoy this culturally, ethnically, religiously and politically correct cartoon”
What is the “politically correct” term to wish someone well in the holiday season? If you don’t know whether or not a person is Christian, what do you say to her? If you don’t care whether or not you are PC, what do you say?
I wonder what an alien from outer space would make of the way in which we get all upset in trying not to offend someone — or in deliberately using terms that we know would be offensive because we want to make a point.
I leave you with two comments.
- Being politically correct does NOT make you correct. NOT being politically correct also does not make you correct.
- A little bit of love can go a long way toward not getting annoyed if someone does not use the exact words we want them to — or if someone is annoyed by something we say that is not meant to be offensive.