Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

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Tangled Metal
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Feb 2019, 9:43am

I was wondering if anyone would bring up 'elf & safety. IMHO there's good similarities. Both are meant to be about protection if those at risk but both are widely portrayed as an assault on freedom or a nanny state trying to control us.

I am not involved in the PC side of our language, I say what I say and stand by it, but I have some H&S involvement at work. I know enough to be confident it's the ignorance of H&S legislation and practises that cause all the "'elf & safety gone mad" responses.

It's so bad in the tabloid press that the HSE has had to divert resources into a myth busting response. On their website you can find pages listing links where a business or organisation has banned something in an idiotic way or for their own reasons (such as too lazy to do something) and blamed it on H&S.

If you want a laugh take a Google trip to the HSE website and find it. It will enlighten you to the way laziness can result in something good being taken for being overbearing. I feel that the idea behind being politically correct is essentially good and positive. It's the way it had been understood by the general public that's changed it into this parody and hate figure. It's a mixture of lazy implementation of those promoting it and lazy attitides of those paying it.

Get out of your little camp of beliefs on the matter and ask yourself what is wrong with trying to reduce offence and prejudice? What is really wrong with wanting to reduce the risk of harm in the workplace? See the similarities and positivity now?

roubaixtuesday
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 12 Feb 2019, 9:51am

On Health and Safety, since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974...

Image

reohn2
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby reohn2 » 12 Feb 2019, 9:51am

windysmithy wrote:I for one am really pleased that it is less acceptable nowadays for my youngest daughter to be called a pikey on the school bus than in my elder daughter's day.

Get over it; using offensive language can really hurt some people. It is bullying. If you hadn't realised before that it's offensive, then be thankful that someone has pointed it out to you and that the world can be a better place.

Nail,head,on!
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roubaixtuesday
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 12 Feb 2019, 9:53am

On being fed up:

Of course not. Why would anyone be fed up at taking into account the effect of their words on others? They would need to be grossly insensitive.

I'm no more fed up of that than of being careful of overtaking cyclists when driving.

kwackers
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 12 Feb 2019, 10:01am

roubaixtuesday wrote:Of course not. Why would anyone be fed up at taking into account the effect of their words on others? They would need to be grossly insensitive.

Sometimes people just want to be offended though.

I remember being shouted at by someone because I described a person as 'black', they were absolutely livid at my "racism".
I was trying to remember a chap who'd worked at our office and he was in fact the only black guy there at the time so as a description IMO it was a perfectly valid way to get a name for him.

There's no real problem with being PC but some folk seem to want to weaponise it.
There are plenty of examples out there and the problem is that genuine PC issues become drowned in the nonsense and often valid discussions can't be had for fear of appearing un-PC.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 12 Feb 2019, 10:08am

kwackers wrote:
roubaixtuesday wrote:Of course not. Why would anyone be fed up at taking into account the effect of their words on others? They would need to be grossly insensitive.

Sometimes people just want to be offended though.

I remember being shouted at by someone because I described a person as 'black', they were absolutely livid at my "racism".
I was trying to remember a chap who'd worked at our office and he was in fact the only black guy there at the time so as a description IMO it was a perfectly valid way to get a name for him.

There's no real problem with being PC but some folk seem to want to weaponise it.
There are plenty of examples out there and the problem is that genuine PC issues become drowned in the nonsense and often valid discussions can't be had for fear of appearing un-PC.


I'm hugely sceptical this is a significant problem, and certainly it is in no way comparable to the prejudices being challenged by the refusal to accept the old racist, sexist and other prejudicial language.

kwackers
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 12 Feb 2019, 10:24am

roubaixtuesday wrote:I'm hugely sceptical this is a significant problem, and certainly it is in no way comparable to the prejudices being challenged by the refusal to accept the old racist, sexist and other prejudicial language.

If it results in PC fatigue then it is a huge problem.

When words rather than intent become the issue then all it does is alienate people and make them think "PC brigade".

Before you know it stories are told, exaggerated and retold. PC becomes a joke - a bit like H&S.
Then you have the folk like in my "story" folk who are more PC than PC. It's a true story and not the only one I can tell about folk who think certain words are not-PC despite being simply descriptive and intended as nothing more than a description.

Ordinary folk voted for brexit because they believed the stories. PC correctness is a joke to a lot of people for the same reason.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Feb 2019, 10:28am

Most of the examples are probably myth or exaggeration or misunderstanding.

Although I do know of one case because it was told to me by a trusted and very level headed member of my family. It was at a politically left leaning educational establishment. A memo from an individual who had given herself the role of determining what is acceptable words to use to reduce prejudice, discrimination and offence. This individual used to put memos out to v every worker with an email address with that month's banned words and phrases.

Anyway one banned word was using black to describe people of afro Caribbean ethnicity. It was an institution that specialised in teaching degrees to the more social sector of education where use of black to describe ethnicity is common. Needless to say everyone ignored it and she was forced to retract her memo and later she stopped doing them. Reason was a handful of black colleagues put in formal complaints over the requirement to use "people of colour" instead of their preferred use of black.

I was not party to those emailed memos or to the aftermath. However I have no reason to believe my relative was lying or exaggerating with this story. Knowing this relative as well as I do I can be completely confident the story as told to me (better than I recounted) is accurate.

My point being most cases are probably myth but the so called "PC gone mad" does happen. I'm sure "H&S gone mad" does occasionally happen too. But that should not mean we should heed the false stories or change our approach in both areas because of the minority of real misuse of good intentions that these two areas have at their heart.

kwackers
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby kwackers » 12 Feb 2019, 10:46am

Tangled Metal wrote:My point being most cases are probably myth but the so called "PC gone mad" does happen. I'm sure "H&S gone mad" does occasionally happen too. But that should not mean we should heed the false stories or change our approach in both areas because of the minority of real misuse of good intentions that these two areas have at their heart.

H&S is in theory an easy thing to fix - most myths are debunked on the H&S website.
It still persists though...

PC otoh is harder to debunk because it's intrinsically social and a moving feast to boot.
One persons PC upset is another's fact.
Once someone decides a word isn't PC regardless of its use then you can't point them at a website debunking their beliefs plus in my experience if the word is the issue and not the intent in which case you're stuffed.

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661-Pete
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby 661-Pete » 12 Feb 2019, 11:05am

kwackers wrote:H&S is in theory an easy thing to fix - most myths are debunked on the H&S website.
It still persists though...
Indeed.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Feb 2019, 11:05am

Actually it's similar in that H&S is thought of by many as intruding in their life and as such they do not understand that it's based on solid practises to their benefit too.

Quality and H&S are now standard organisational practices. But perception of the general public is they're a cost to the organisation. As a result there's always room for ignorance that tbh won't get dispelled with a myth busting website.

I doubt racial or other prejudice will be stopped so easily neither. I'm sure there's websites devoted to combating prejudice against identifiable groups in society. Point someone to those and you'll not get a change in habit so easily. Prejudice and ignorance is highly ingrained in people.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Feb 2019, 11:10am

661-Pete wrote:
kwackers wrote:H&S is in theory an easy thing to fix - most myths are debunked on the H&S website.
It still persists though...
Indeed.
Image

You prove my point. Conkers isn't allowed at my kids school. That's been on the myth busting website up by the HSE. Ignorance being taught to kids.

Personally that would be a very good social responsibility topic to look at IMHO. It could lead to fun and social education. Imagine primary schools teaching kids to be able to assess risks for themselves and take their own measures to prevent harm! Tell a kid something is potentially harmful they learn about that one case. Teach them how to identify harmful situations and you get them ready for a modern life.

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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Bez » 12 Feb 2019, 11:31am

roubaixtuesday wrote:On Health and Safety, since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974...


Playing devil's advocate, that graph doesn't actually tell you much without seeing the previous years. Take road casualty data as an analogy: if you showed the casualty rate starting with the point when seatbelts became a legal requirement, you'd see a nice downward trend. But actually the seatbelt laws caused a step change upwards in casualties, and the downward trend was already established. I suspect the HSWA wouldn't suffer quite so much from the Peltzman Effect, but nonetheless: data can be hugely misleading without context.

kwackers wrote:If it results in PC fatigue then it is a huge problem. When words rather than intent become the issue then all it does is alienate people and make them think "PC brigade".


But we need to separate two things. One is the setting out of guidance (or stronger) by some entity—an employer, the law, or whatever—to influence or control how we interact with others; and the other is an individual's reaction to how you interact with them. The anecdote in this case is the latter, and when a single specific person is upset by a single specific thing you say, it's totally inappropriate to think this is "The PC Brigade" at work; it's an opportunity to seek an explanation as to how you've upset them, and to fold that into your interactions with others in future.

For sure, there are times when you feel like however you phrase something you might cause offence. And that's how it is. Everyone is an individual, and there is no single Universally Approved Dictionary which every single human being signs up to and agrees to find entirely benign. These are nuanced matters with no single answer; something which those who see the world in (dare I say it) black and white struggle to grasp.

Fundamentally, like much of life it all relies on Rule Number One, "don't be a dick"—whether that's by stubbornly using abrasive language with no care for others' reaction, or being offended and then refusing to help genuinely interested people understand why.

pwa
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby pwa » 12 Feb 2019, 11:35am

roubaixtuesday wrote:On being fed up:

Of course not. Why would anyone be fed up at taking into account the effect of their words on others? They would need to be grossly insensitive.

I'm no more fed up of that than of being careful of overtaking cyclists when driving.

There is a happy medium to be found, where people try not to offend each other gratuitously and nobody takes offence too easily. There is fault to be found on both sides of that equation.

Language is ancient in its origins and it isn't going to change every five minutes to keep up with the latest thoughts on this, that or the other. My mother is going to call that wheelchair user down the road "handicapped" whatever anyone else thinks is the more acceptable modern phrase, and her meaning is as innocent as when "handicapped" first replaced "cripple" as the accepted term. We should focus on what people mean by their choice of words, and not look for offence where none is intended.

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Cugel
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Re: Simple Question: Is anyone else fed up with having to be PC ?

Postby Cugel » 12 Feb 2019, 11:53am

Tangled Metal wrote:Most of the examples are probably myth or exaggeration or misunderstanding.

Although I do know of one case because it was told to me by a trusted and very level headed member of my family. It was at a politically left leaning educational establishment. A memo from an individual who had given herself the role of determining what is acceptable words to use to reduce prejudice, discrimination and offence. This individual used to put memos out to v every worker with an email address with that month's banned words and phrases.

Anyway one banned word was using black to describe people of afro Caribbean ethnicity. It was an institution that specialised in teaching degrees to the more social sector of education where use of black to describe ethnicity is common. Needless to say everyone ignored it and she was forced to retract her memo and later she stopped doing them. Reason was a handful of black colleagues put in formal complaints over the requirement to use "people of colour" instead of their preferred use of black.

I was not party to those emailed memos or to the aftermath. However I have no reason to believe my relative was lying or exaggerating with this story. Knowing this relative as well as I do I can be completely confident the story as told to me (better than I recounted) is accurate.

My point being most cases are probably myth but the so called "PC gone mad" does happen. I'm sure "H&S gone mad" does occasionally happen too. But that should not mean we should heed the false stories or change our approach in both areas because of the minority of real misuse of good intentions that these two areas have at their heart.


You've identified the core of the matter in terms of words or phrases that are not PC. Kwackers gives an illuminating example also.

Consider the practice of identifying someone as "black" "person of colour" or via any other phrase that essentially purports to identify (and make significant) their "ethnicity"

First, are people who are white, pink, tanned, puce or any other skin colour habitually identified as such in everyday talk? I suggest that they are not. Why not? Well...

Would we automatically place a white, pink, tanned or puce person into an ethnicity class? Of course not! We recognise that white, pink, tanned and puce people (people like "us") are highly variegated and don't belong to any meaningful ethnicity. (I suppose the puce might all be of the "ethnicity" highly emotional with high blood pressure; but probably not).

This casual racism and placing of people having some skin colours into "an ethnicity" is embedded in a long and much more virulent racist culture, perhaps at it's peak during the colonial days of The Victorians. It has no validity since there is no such thing as a "black" ethnicity or a special "people of colour" (i.e. dark colours not white, pink, tanned, puce, etc,).

The notion of race is spurious, invalid, made-up-stuff from those colonial days. It has a similar validity to classifying people by their head bumps, brow-aspect or chin-shape. All of those classification schemes (and various others long-forgotten) were invented by those same Victorians for similar reasons - to condemn, exploit and persecute various pariahs and "lesser types" as part of their rabid desire for hierarchies-of-worth. And to justify or legitimise the various genocides required in the colonial exploitation.

For a society that claims to be full of individuals, we still seem to have a very pressing need to create stereotypes and other classification schemes that enable us to reduce, denigrate and persecute whole swathes of people who are not at all "the same" other than via some insignificant thing like skin colour. And, like money or god, the notion of race becomes real as the behaviours of not just the racists but those they persecute become formed to a large degree by racism.

Cugel