Earlier today I was given a link to one of the more enjoyable, funny, and sarcastic posts I’ve read in quite some time. It focused on the growing obsession over being politically correct in all facets of speech and communication.
Ironically enough, the post wasn’t intended to be funny OR sarcastic. It was definitely enjoyable because the piece was loaded with runaway trains of thought and accidental comedic gems that would have been fantastic punchlines had the writer not repeatedly made it clear she was serious.
When I reached the end of the article and no “Gotcha!” was present, I knew I had stumbled upon a prime example of how the absurdity of political correctness has reached bewildering heights. As with anything published on the Internet, I fully expected the Comments section to be littered with mockery.
Instead, those leaving comments were not only in agreement, but seemed highly motivated to take the controversy to a whole new level.
And the controversy at hand? A philosophical rant suggesting that phrases like “blinded by privilege,” “justice is blind,” and “blinded by greed” are insulting to blind people.
Not insulting to the person or persons the phrases are actually directed towards, but rather they’re insulting to the blind.
You have GOT to be kidding me.
I’ve long felt that our nation’s self-appointed P.C. Police have been absolutely out of control and getting more and more overzealous in their quest to muzzle even the most innocuous of phrases. I now fear that it’s gotten to the point that no matter what is said, someone somewhere will follow a dizzying array of offshoot branches and subsets of meaning to find offense.
Last year, when I casually remarked on Facebook that the football game I was watching was “crazy” I was reprimanded and told that using that term was offensive. I thought she was joking to the point that I replied with an “LOL.” After an awkward pause she explained that saying something is “crazy” is offensive because it implies that those with a mental disorder aren’t normal…as though there’s something wrong with them.
Isn’t this why they’re diagnosed with a mental disorder? Because they aren’t considered normal?
This fact aside, my comment wasn’t even directed at people with mental issues. It wasn’t some commentary on their affliction or a joke at their expense. It was simply my summed-up recap of a football game loaded with surprising twists and turns. It was, without a doubt, crazy. Not “babbling of the lips with fingers” crazy…just…well, crazy!
Throughout our short exchange I honestly couldn’t tell if she was joking. But after visiting her Facebook Wall to grab a better portrait of the person lecturing me, it was apparent that she had worn out her fair share of soapboxes over the years. She was looking for a fight and I wasn’t about to give it to her.
I think some people lay in wait for an opportunity to build mountains out of molehills. Like a mosquito needing blood to survive, it’s almost as though they need controversy to find purpose. Void of it, they’ll manufacture it.
There were many favorite excerpts from this piece, but the following mind-bending tongue twister is what stuck with me the most:
“I understand that it’s an evocative word that brings to mind exactly what one tries to evoke when talking about the spots that our privilege has prevented us from perceiving. But using “blindness” to describe the oppression that we unknowingly inflict on people is othering and stigmatizing and ultimately able-ist. Using the term “blindness” to reflect mishaps of privilege is a way to further ingrain the oppression of those with little or no sight.”
To be honest, I had to Google some of the big boy words she was using to make her point, but the overall gist is that using “blindness” as an adjective in any form only oppresses the blind, thereby implying that they require special assistance. Like…canes, guide dogs, and Braille. According to the author, it appears that blind people don’t want the stigma associated with being blind because people may assume they can’t see just because they’re blind.
One commenter went so far as to theorize that the reason only 10% of blind children can read Braille is because the parents are too afraid of the stigma associated with visual impairment to draw attention to them. Meaning, they’re so afraid of people finding out their children are blind that they withhold them from learning how to read. Thereby implying that 90% of blind children have spineless parents who would rather let their children grow up to be dipshizzles than admit they can’t see.
When Heather accuses me of being blind because I can’t see the mustard in the side door of our refrigerator, she’s implying that I can’t see. This isn’t an insult to blind people. It’s insult to ME. It’s not a stereotype. It’s a fact. Blind people can’t see.
So when Heather implies that I’m also unable to see because I can’t find the mustard hiding in plain sight, she’s sarcastically suggesting I must be blind. Which, when it comes to condiments, is a completely valid accusation.
Look, I’m all for sensitivity and compassion, but I think we’re turning into a nation of wusses where the mass majority feel compelled to coddle to the P.C. fractional few.
Case in point:
“It got me thinking about the use of the term “right” to mean “opposite of left” as well as “correct.” Couldn’t someone who is left-handed reason that “left” equals “wrong”?”
Clearly, this needs to stop.
The P.C. Police are running amok and they’re obviously drunk with the very power they’ve deputized themselves with (my apologies if I’ve offended alcoholics) (or deputies).
I don’t know how many of my readers are left-handed but if ANY of you are offended by the use of the word “right” in a directional context, you need to get a grip.
“Do I turn right?”
“What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?! You think you’re better than me?!”
On the plus side, this mind-numbing dictionary-laden ramble did appear to inspire to some social change in whatever circle these literary overachievers belong to:
“As a person with sight, I am going to completely discontinue the use of a phrase that alienates and others an entire group of people.”
Another commenter added, with considerable applause afterwards:
“I might suggest that, rather than using ‘blinded by privilege’ the phrase might grow into ‘blinkered by privilege’. To be blinkered is to have a limited and subjective viewpoint or perception. It doesn’t altogether do away with the linking of vision and recognition, but blinkered might help avoid any stigmatization of blindness.”
Interesting. But while this may ease the pain and suffering of oppressed blind people around the world, it could still be offensive to those who blink. In fact, as a habitual blinker myself, I find this suggested replacement phrase offensive.
“Heather,” I said after reading all this nonsense aloud to her, “I hope I’m never trapped in a room with any of these people. They would drive me absolutely crazy.”
“You know,” she said with a subtle smile, “as a driver…I find that offensive.”