An Observation on Political Correctness

I recently spent time with family where instead of forwarding me an email chain family members were able to directly read from the website something they found interesting on the internet.  We all do it!  This particular version was a list of Christmas songs as viewed from the lens of political correctness.  I’ll share the list from New Jersey 101.5 below:

1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: subjecting minors to softcore porn
2. The Christmas Song: Open fire? Pollution. Folks dressed up like Eskimos? Cultural appropriation
3. Holly Jolly Christmas: Kiss her once for me? Unwanted advances
4. White Christmas? Racist
5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Sees you when you’re sleeping? Knows when you’re awake? Peeping Tom stalker
6. Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Everyone telling you be of good cheer? Forced to hide depression
7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Bullying
8. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Forced gender-specific gifts: dolls for Janice and Jen and boots and pistols (GUNS!) for Barney and Ben
9. Santa Baby: Gold digger, blackmail
10. Frosty the Snowman: Sexist; not a snow woman
11. Do You Hear What I Hear: blatant disregard for the hearing impaired
12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Make the yuletide GAY? Wow, just wow
13. Jingle Bell Rock: Giddy up jingle horse, pick up your feet: animal abuse
14. Mistletoe and Holly: Overeating, folks stealing a kiss or two? How did this song ever see the light of day?
15. Winter Wonderland: Parson Brown demanding they get married…forced partnership

It’s reasonably funny and I was glad the family member shared it.  As I thought about it though I started to see the mantle of political correctness as nothing more than an attempt to censor speech.

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I’m not a fan of censorship.  It generally goes against my principles.

As I was thinking about this list from the perspective of censorship I started to notice something else.  Among my friends those who complain about political correctness are often the same to participate in a different type of censorship.  Members of that same group are generally ones that are offended with the use of profanity in music and on television.  I found this thought intriguing.  If both are censorship how is one superior to the other?  How does one decide which censorship to participate in and which to be offended by?

I think the right type of censorship isn’t about placing your rules on others.  I think it’s about placing rules on yourself for what you’re willing to consume.  Self censorship seems to be the best choice for society a healthy society.  Let people group together where they find common ground of what is acceptable.  I don’t have the freedom to force others to do things the way I want to, but I do have the freedom to abstain from those things that don’t add value.

Our selective censorship and wanting to force our rules on others is part of the condition we find ourselves in being human.  It’s normal for us to want society to follow our rules, but the best long-term solution is simply to reject the parts of society that we don’t appreciate.  Rejecting doesn’t need to be a passionate criticism of other’s choices.  It can be a pleasant invitation for them to follow your example.