Yesterday, as I was mindlessly browsing through Facebook, I came across two articles about someone, somewhere, once again being politically correct and offended by something. In this case it was Jason Bateman taking the piss out of veganism in a Hyundai Superbowl ad and… wait for it… Mary Poppins.
Really? Someone is offended by Mary Poppins? The sweet English nanny with a flower in her hat?
Apparently, an iconic scene where Mary Poppins pops out of a chimney with her face all black from the soot is really an allusion to “black face”. This just goes to show how one can find damn near anything to be offended by these days.
Later on during the day, I came across another article titled “Liam Neeson Explains ‘Racist Interview’ About Wanting to kill a Black B*stard”. In the interview Neeson explains how a friend of his was brutally raped by a black man. He then walked the streets for about a week, hoping to be approached by some “black bastard” so that he could kill him.
At first glance it might seem like Liam Neeson is not very “politically correct” at all. In-fact, without proper context, one can easily assume that he’s a total racist. And – surprise, surprise – there was a huge backlash. Following the remarks he made, the red carpet premiere for his upcoming film was cancelled.
The crazy thing, however, is that this happened nearly 40 years ago. In the interview Neeson actually lamented the fact that he thought and behaved this way. Neeson said, “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.” Yes, God forbid that someone should open up about being human; that they behaved in a way that was less than perfect and politically correct nearly 40 years ago, but that they learned a lesson and evolved since then. He also added, “I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing’, you know? I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing.”
Now he’s being punished, not for doing anything, but simply for thinking a certain way nearly 40 years ago! I’m also reminded of Kevin Hart stepping down from hosting the Oscars after someone dug up jokes he made about gay people on Twitter about a decade ago. Seriously, what is this world coming to? But maybe it isn’t “the world” as such. The truth is that social media has given nearly everyone a voice, which is good. But what also happens now is that one person can be offended by something and then someone else will write an article about it. With the Mary Poppins controversy, for instance, it was really just one person who came to that particular conclusion.
But the people writing these articles understand that amidst this politically correct, easily-offended culture, titles such as “Vegans Are Upset About Being Made Fun of In This Super Bowl Ad” or “Liam Neeson Says He Once Sought Revenge For A Friend’s Rape By Looking For A Black Man To Kill” are highly clickable. These types of articles seems to imply that “people” are offended, but when you read the actual comments by actual people, no one seems to be offended. So, we’re basically being lied to by people who simply want to create drama, controversy and division.
I really find it intriguing that more and more of these types of articles are popping up on my news feed every day. It’s understandable, because as I said, these types of articles are highly clickable. But why? What is it with this overly-sensitive, easily-offended, overly politically correct culture that we now find ourselves in?
Is it possible that this overly politically correct culture is really rooted in a lack of responsibility? People don’t want to take responsibility for their own lives and their own problems anymore. I touched on this in my previous article. There is always someone else to blame; someone else who must take responsibility, but it never seems to be “me”.
Think about someone who has inspired you; someone who really excelled in their life, relationships or career. Did that person ever say, “once I get everyone to stop offending me, then I will finally excel in life”?
That person didn’t excel in life because they managed to silence the offenders; they excelled despite of the offenders. You can’t stop someone from giving offense, but you can stop taking offense. People who excel in life do so because they take full responsibility for their own lives and feelings. But that isn’t easy; it isn’t easy to admit that, at the end of the day, I alone am responsible for my own feelings. It’s much easier to blame someone else and expect them to take responsibility for my hurt feelings.
People who are easily offended generally aren’t secure in their own convictions either. Again, did that person you look up to ever give a shit about what anyone else thought?
They didn’t feel the need to justify or defend their point of view. You hardly feel the need to justify or defend your point of view when you are completely secure in that point of view. For instance, Christians who are offended by homosexuality are usually very insecure about their own sexuality (There! I said it). Likewise, homosexuals who feel a need to validate their sexuality probably feel insecure about that too – they struggle to own it. And I must admit that if I spent my whole life being told that my sexuality is “abnormal”, “wrong” or “sinful”, I would probably struggle to own it too, so I can empathize. But the truth is that people who truly own who they are generally don’t get offended. They just are who they are and they don’t give a shit.
It might be true that your offense is legitimate, because some people really are assholes. But the real question you need to ask yourself is this: does being offended serve you? Does it make you a better person? Does it help you grow and evolve and get on with making a success of your life? If your answer is yes, then by all means, carry on being offended. But if it doesn’t, then maybe it’s not about changing how the world interacts with you, but rather changing how you interact with the world.