Triggered? Please.

When we’re young, most of us are taught the following principles, and as adults, we don’t always remember them as vividly as we should: Don’t bully anyone and don’t pick on people. They’re as reasonable as any lesson a human can learn. The Political Correctness, or PC, movement, wedges these ideas into every discussion, whether they fit or not.

The problem is that these principles were never taught to us in our youth on their own—with them came these vital pieces of the same puzzle: Don’t be a cry baby and don’t be a tattletale. While some, especially in the PC movement, want to eschew or demonize these principles as if they would be misused to silence victims of rape or assault, the reality is that these ideas are just as important to keep in mind as the first two I mentioned.

The purpose of telling a child not to be a cry baby is not to suppress his or her voice but to foster an understanding that people will often tune out a constant complainer, and that even the most caring listener may have his or her compassion dulled by the exhaustingly squeaky wheel of a perpetual victim. When someone who never bellyaches suddenly has a grievance, those around him or her typically stop what they’re doing to listen and offer support; conversely, the response of the masses to the never-endingly dissatisfied person is a lot of eye-rolling and dismissal.

In addition, the intention in teaching a kid not to be a tattletale is to encourage them to pick their battles—if one cries foul about every little thing as if it’s absolutely critical to their survival, they significantly compromise their ability to convey the gravity of a legitimate grumble. Much like the lesson in The Boy Who Cried Wolf, too much finger-pointing and victim-playing will wear down those hearing one’s lamentations and eventually even dire pleas will fall on deaf ears.

While it’s commendable to want everyone to be nice and treat people with respect, it’s irrational to be hyper-sensitive to unwanted behaviors and ideologies. It’s also unreasonable to try to force people to act the way one wants them to act. The best way to encourage polite, considerate behavior in others is to be polite and considerate and hope others emulate that. It’s likely no one has ever felt compelled to change their mind by someone standing in their path waving signs in their face, or being yelled at in protest. In fact, these activities can many times have the opposite effect, causing the target to reinforce the unwanted behavior out of spite.

Be good to one another. Eventually, it will catch on.

-J

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~ by hamiltonjacobs on April 27, 2016.

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