Talking PC

I remember seeing the movie Arthur back in the 80’s. I thought it was hilarious! When I saw part of it again several years later, it wasn’t funny anymore. Alcoholics aren’t funny. As a society in the 80’s, we were too underdeveloped (myself included) to realize alcoholics are not a source of comedy, but we know it now. We are maturing as a society.
I’ve heard many complaints about which comments are “PC” and how we are supposed to know. Some say that the others are just being too sensitive.
I love to go back to the comment made by Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. We can’t guess at what another person is feeling until we walk a mile in their shoes. That’s probably a lousy paraphrase. It’s been a very long time since I’ve actually read it, but I think the meaning is there.
We can’t know what someone else is feeling, but when we are in a position of privilege, we have a responsibility to not make fun of people not in that position. If we are wealthy, we should not make assumptions or make comments about people who have little money, because we do not understand things such as what it’s like to fix Ramen again because payday is still five days away. (Been there. Done that.)
If we are white, we should not make assumptions or make comments about people who are not white because we don’t have to face the indignities they endure every day (the profiling, the facial expressions, the assumptions of diminished worth).
If we are smart, we should not make assumptions or make comments about people who are less intelligent because they have gifts we do not have.
Last year, I worked with a young boy who was bullying other boys. He would say mean things, and it took us a long time to work through that. I remember one day sitting there and telling him “It doesn’t matter.”
He would say, “[name] sucks. He can’t run fast at all. I can beat him in a race without hardly trying.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“But he’s SO slow!!! I hate it when he gets put on my team!” (etc., etc.)
“It doesn’t matter.”
“And [name] is so dumb! He can’t do anything right!”
“It doesn’t matter.”
This went on for a while, until I turned it around to explaining that every person is important. We all share the earth together. I asked him if there were anything that he could do to help the one boy run faster or be a better team member in some other way.
The next week, when I visited the school again, the teacher said that the boy I had been seeing had stopped bullying one of his previous targets. He had become a mentor instead. Of course, I had been working with him for probably two months before something clicked for him, but I still did a happy dance.
Now we’re working on trying not to beat up anyone else that’s bullying his new friend. One step at a time….

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