Beating the Drum on politically correct

Beating the Drum

Offensive to Whom?

'I like the word ‘‘Indian’’ but I might offend someone out there by calling myself an Indian'
By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario. She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

It would appear from the headlines that manufactured fear is in the driver’s seat in our world. By manufactured fear, I mean false evidence appearing real. Yes people use fear in a variety of ways to avoid decisions or to silence free speech.

What will the neighbours think? Better not do or say that because someone might be offended. The offensive is usually based on an irrational fear.

Peruse the online news sites and everyday there are numerous examples of how our society uses this irrational form of fear to create irrational rules or abdicate their responsibility to deal with a situation.

A few weeks ago a student in Nova Scotia was suspended for wearing a t-shirt that said, ‘life is wasted without Jesus’.  Apparently the Nova Scotia school board felt that this type of t-shirt could be offensive to another student or teacher.  As a possible correction, the student was advised to put the word ‘my’ at the start of the sentence.

In Indonesia, Lady Gaga was forced to cancel her concerts because there are some people who felt that her sexy clothing and dance moves could corrupt the youth. I am sure they can watch her on youtube.

H&M was forced to apologize to audiences because their swimsuit campaign has...are you ready...models that are too tanned. Apparently this campaign is promoting unhealthy tanning habits and because of this ad more people will die of skin cancer. I must say the controversy will most likely have H&M selling more bathing suits. 

Who determines what is offensive? How many people have to find something offensive? If one person or organization is offended then is that reasonable to assume everyone is offended? From the headlines it would appear that only one person or organization’s opinion rules. 

Years ago when I was writing reports for the government, I was informed that I was no longer to use the word Indian. Instead I was told that I must use the word ‘Native’ since the word ‘Indian’ was considered offensive. It is nice that someone else was making the decisions about what I can call myself. Personally I like the word ‘Indian’ but I might offend someone out there by calling myself an Indian.

As time went on I was told by the politically correctness police that I was no longer supposed to call myself ‘Native’. Yes that word was now an offensive word. A new directive came down that I was to call myself an ‘Aboriginal’. Personally I really dislike the word ‘Aboriginal’ but that is what I was supposed to use. Well as time went on I was informed that I was now to use the words ‘First Nation’. I am becoming confused as to what I can call myself.

It would appear that politically correctness has been used to silence the right to opinions. It also places us all in care of someone else. Someone else tells us what to think and feel. It almost gives the appearance that we are children and can’t make decisions on our own.

Our society gives us words like tolerance, diversity, respect, and unity, however in actuality they are all bogus words which are meaninglessly tossed around in advertising lines. Tag lines giving us the illusion that our society is open and loving.

Yet if one really takes a look at these words we find that they create divisions. They divide and separate us. Instead of looking at the fact that we are all unique beings, we are told we all must think the same. We are taught that if one person is offended then we must change our behaviours to accommodate their way of thinking.

We are taught a contrived tolerance, and are given a path filled with judgements. Perhaps if we operated from compassion and love, we would not need the politically correctness police. We could then allow people to be whoever they choose to be.