To the Young Men and Women of America: From the GOP

This is a very powerful and well written post from one of my favorite blogs, JohnPavlovitz.com.

Warning:  it may be triggering to survivors of abuse.

To The Young Men and Women of America, From the GOP

Advertisements

Rethinking political correctness.

good-manners-

On January 13, 2015, I wrote an article criticizing political correctness, explaining that it was a tactic some narcissists use to control others.   According to Charlton Heston, political correctness was tyranny wrapped in a happy face.     He wasn’t altogether wrong.

Toward the end of that post, I wrote,

I do not believe in political correctness, at least not when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes the way it sometimes is. We live in such a litigious society and almost everything can be construed as offensive. It can get pretty ridiculous.

From another post of mine (June 2, 2015) called Narcissists Use Political Correctness to Control:

It’s a huge irony that at the same time we worship the material over the spiritual, the rich and callous over the poor and kind, the corporation over the individual, the aggressive and ruthless over the empathetic and cooperative, that we insist on something called “political correctness.” This ties in closely with a concept we call “zero tolerance.” It’s gotten so extreme that if we tap our child on the rear-end in Wal-Mart, we could be charged with child abuse. If a young boy draws a picture of a gun, they could go to jail.

Later in the same post, I wrote:

We have euphemisms for everything. We have to watch everything we say for fear of offending some or another group of people. Political correctness, we are told, exists so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings or insult a group of people, whether they be of a certain nationality, race, have a particular disability or mental illness, or sexual preference. But I don’t think that’s the real reason for political correctness. I think the real reason is control. If we have to watch everything we say and walk around on eggshells for fear of offending someone, then we become anxious and fearful. That’s the way the narcissistic Powers That Be want us: scared to death and easily controlled. Zero tolerance is another way they can control us.

 

I still believe there is much truth to all this, and in general, I still believe that in recent years, political correctness has gone too far.    We’re afraid to say anything at all or express our real feelings about things, because someone might be offended.   As this cartoon shows, political correctness can be taken to ridiculous extremes:

peanuts_racism

For all its problems, there is still much to be said for political correctness — when it isn’t taken to ridiculous extremes or used to control others.   Political correctness came about because during the 1960s and 1970s, as people became more aware of racism, sexism, and all the myriad ways society tries to separate itself from “people who are not like us,”  it became no longer socially acceptable to call black people the “N” word, gay people “faggots,” or the cognitively challenged the “R” word.    We realized these people were human beings just like us with feelings, and those feelings ought to be respected.    The color of their skin or their sexual orientation or their cognitive or physical abilities didn’t make them any less human or any less prone to being emotionally hurt.

Due to the feminist movement of the 1970s, we also stopped referring to grown women as “girls,” although mature women do still use that term among themselves to refer to each other in a joking, informal kind of way (“I’m having lunch with the girls”).  We also stopped referring to them as “the weaker sex,” which they are certainly not, at least not mentally or emotionally (even though due to their smaller size, there may be truth to women being physically weaker than men).   Of course, being thought of as “weaker” did tend to bring out chivalrous behavior in men (opening doors or holding out a seat, etc. — which most of us still appreciate and recognize as a courtesy rather than an insult to our strength or competence).

So these days it’s pretty unsettling and appalling when we hear a lawyer in a rape case publicly refer to women as “the weaker sex”  or a new President brag about how he can “grab ’em by the pussy.”   It’s upsetting when that same president made fun of a disabled journalist during his campaign by imitating his awkward motions like some 9 year old bully on the playground — and got away with it.    Such behaviors and insults go way beyond thumbing your nose at political correctness and the need to having to watch everything you say.   They show a lack of respect and a callous disregard for our fellow human beings and don’t allow them any dignity.    There’s nothing noble or admirable about having no filter and not caring who you injure with your words.

When public figures callously and openly insult others,  they teach the world that it’s okay to bully and make fun of others who are different from you — especially when they get applauded for it.      Already, teachers, parents, and others who are closely involved with educating children are reporting an increase in bullying behavior in schools, especially toward people of color or non-Christians.   The kids are thinking, if the President of the United States can get away with treating others that way, well, why can’t I?   They wouldn’t be wrong to think that way.   Kids imitate the behavior of adults, especially those in the public eye such as celebrities and politicians.   Why should they listen to some teacher tell them it’s wrong to insult other kids for things they have no control over, when the President himself does it?

peanuts_respect

It seems like civility and politeness are things of the distant past.    We are a polarized nation, with both major parties routinely flinging vitriol and insults at the other party.    While this is to be expected in dark political times when so much is at stake,  it’s unsettling that such barbaric and disrespectful behavior seems to have become the norm even outside the political sphere.  It’s even more disturbing that we excuse it by applauding the bullies for daring to be rogues through their refusal to be “slaves” to political correctness.

Like most other things in life, political correctness can be a negative thing when taken to extremes and certainly can interfere with freedom of speech (as some of its critics have pointed out).    But that doesn’t mean there’s not a need for it.   “Political correctness” is really just the politically correct way to say “respect and kindness toward others” and “do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”    Until Trump’s election, many people (understandably) got so burned out on the political correctness movement that they pushed back against it — so much so that they admired and applauded a man who seemed to thumb his nose at political correctness at every opportunity and seemed to be proud of his propensity to fling hurtful insults at people who were different from him.

We all need to relearn the Golden Rule, which we were taught in Kindergarten but seem to have forgotten.   Being civil and courteous doesn’t mean we give up our constitutional right to freedom of speech.   It doesn’t mean we have to always wear a happy face and lie to others and pretend we love everyone when we don’t.    We don’t have to be fake.  But we do need to learn all over again what it means to listen to each other, to be civil to each other even when we disagree, and to not judge others harshly by things they cannot control, such as their physical or mental abilities, color of their skin, gender, or sexual orientation; or cultural differences such as their religion, cultural beliefs, or creed.   We need to relearn manners and basic civility,  and that means to know when to keep our mouths shut.   If we are thinking hateful thoughts about someone due to something they cannot help and express those thoughts openly, we help no one.  All we do is hurt others and make ourselves look like ignorant jerks.

Narcissists are rude to servicepeople.

rude_people

I want to talk about a little-mentioned red flag, but one of the easiest ones to spot early in a relationship. Most narcissists are rude to servicepeople and others they see as beneath them. My ex was notoriously rude to servicepeople, always screaming at customer service people, even if the problem wasn’t their fault. He was also rude to wait staff in restaurants, to the point it was embarrassing going out to dinner with him. He was unreasonably demanding, condescending, and treated wait staff as if they were mentally deficient. With attractive female wait staff, his rudeness was of a sexual character–he openly flirted with young waitresses, even though I was watching. I think he did this because he knew it would bother me.  He also did it because he knew his target was a sitting duck and might be fired or reprimanded if she objected to the flirtatious behavior (which wasn’t so over the top if could be called sexual harassment).

My parents were always rude to servicepeople too. My mother embarrassed me constantly with her relentless, unreasonable demands in restaurants and loud criticism and insults toward anyone she thought was beneath her, which was almost everyone. I remember the time we went to Charleston, SC in the early ’90s. We took a tour bus through the downtown area. The bus driver gave us information about historical homes in the area as we passed them. My mother was bored, so to relieve her boredom (and to get attention), she began to loudly argue with the bus driver, telling him why he was wrong and to get his facts straight. People stared at her, horrified at how rude she was being. The bus driver looked like he wanted to cry. I wanted to sink through the bus floor. I tried to make myself as inconspicuous as possible to avoid being associated with such a rude, arrogant, person.

Another time, I went to visit her in a motel when she had come to visit. My mother isn’t wealthy (although she always had upper-class pretentions), and could only afford a fairly inexpensive chain motel near the Interstate. A Mexican family was staying next door to her room and as we made our way to the motel pool, the Mexican family came out with their 3 kids. A little boy, probably three or four, started talking to my mother in Spanish, and she shooed him away as if he was a bug. The little boy looked hurt, and I felt sorry for him. I gave the boy’s mother a sheepish, apologetic look. The kids ran past. The little girl accidentally brushed past my mother, and she started making “ugh” sounds and wiping her skirt as if it was contaminated. She didn’t like this family for two reasons: 1. she regarded them as being of low social status, and 2. They were Mexican.

actions

This brings me to racism, which is related, because racists regard “those other people” as being of a lower social status, and sometimes not even quite human. Seeing others as beneath them or even as like animals absolves them of any guilt they might otherwise have in treating another person like dirt.

Racism is common in narcissists. I think most people who are racist probably are narcissistic if not straight up narcissists. Of course, some people are racists because they were raised to be that way, and it is more common in older generations than younger ones. But I think it’s a lot more prevalent in people with a lot of narcissistic traits.

These same people are likely to fawn all over those they see as being “worthy” or of a higher social status (even though they might secretly hate them). Narcissists are snobs, but they are only snobs because they secretly hate themselves and must put other people down to feel better about themselves.

It’s also my opinion that most people who demean the poor and blame them for their poverty, calling them “lazy” or “stupid” or insisting they “chose to be poor” are probably narcissists or at least have a lot of those traits.

racist

If you see any of the following behaviors after meeting someone, run! These are all red flags.

1. Rude, condescending or unnecessarily critical of wait staff or servicepeople. I am not including anger at a serviceperson because they legitimately screwed up or were rude themselves.
2. Calling attention to oneself by loudly arguing with servicepeople, making sure everyone hears.
3. Does not care if they embarrass you. If you tell them to chill or keep things toned down, they are likely to turn their anger on you.
4. Unwarranted personal insults toward servicepeople, including customer service representatives and technical support people.
5. Threatening a serviceperson even though the problem was not their fault. For example, threatening to sue a store clerk for demanding to see ID (which is a required part of their job).
6. Acting like a serviceperson or person of another race or nationality is beneath them and not worthy of respectful, polite behavior.
7. Racist, sexist, or ethnic jokes meant to insult their targets (or call attention to themselves).
8. Insulting someone of lower social status, coexisting with fawning behavior toward someone of higher social status. If an encounter with a higher status person immediately follows one with a lower status person (or vice versa), they will appear to have a Jekyll-Hyde personality. This is common in the workplace. Beware of narcissistic bosses who look down on you because of your lower position in the company. Of course, they will do anything they can to keep you from getting ahead.
9. Openly flirtatious behavior toward servicepeople or wait staff in front of a date or spouse.  This is a double whammy, intended to upset the partner(the behavior is usually subtle enough it can be denied later and the partner told they are being paranoid or imagining things), and intimidate or humiliate the service person (again, it’s likely to be subtle enough that it doesn’t qualify as sexual harassment.)