When Dave Taylor posted today, “to be unPC is “critical” to our “healthy democracy,” I wondered about the words PC (or politically correct) and healthy democracy. Consider these words less from common usage, but from a brain based perspective, and you’d likely redefine these two.
By the way Dave, sincere thanks for raising keen topics like politically correct and democracy of any sort. Would you agree they hold opposing views – depending on angles spotted from where one sits in any PC or unPC dialogue. How so?
My first jolted response to PC came while speaking at a University in London. While there, I met up with an African American scholar and friend for lunch and we slipped into a movie that caught my eye. While I don’t remember the title of that flick, I’ll never forget my embarrassment at subtle racial slurs that passed for humor in this classic narrative. Would I’ve seen its toxins had not my close African American friend sat with me? It changed the way I heard because sardonic racism suddenly came through a victim’s ears. In fact it heated my amygdala for the first time, and changed the way I viewed both terms. PC and healthy democracy both redefined themselves to me that day, and since then I’ve wondered if both these terms couldn’t use a face lift in response.
Interestingly, the movie’s diminishing lingo passed public scrutiny under freedom of speech, even though credits listed an all white production team. This humor reminded me that I’d sadly seen my well-respected colleague also face subtle discrimination back in the United States at times. Although no comment came between us in either case, traces of inequity ticker-taped across my mind as if part of the movie’s plot.
Since that time I’ve reflected more on both these terms, and wondered about damaging wakes that drown healthy communities. In true democracies, people likely laugh at self while building trust and equity with those who differ. Interestingly, the term PC is almost exclusively spoken of in pejorative manner, while unPC tends to render popular, intelligent and freer speech. An intriguing shift of meaning here – which confuses open discussion even more. PC becomes the cynic’s straw man, and possibly even prevents social change needed to initiate more mutual dividends in visible ways. What do you think?
Here are a few brain based conclusions I’ve reached recently:
1. Diminish races, disabled, aged, genders or human differences, and expect an unhealthy democracy.
2. Cynics literally rewire brains to create conflict much like addicts can create oppression by default.
3. Humor opens minds, increases learning and aids memory, when it tosses serotonin, not cortisol into the ring.
4. Opposing views tend to expand dendrite brain cells, when people raise opposite views in order to learn from both.
5. Tone transforms PC and unPC into tools for open discourse, much like Dave did here, from all backgrounds, and with respect that flows meaning into deeper pools.
Whenever I stumble into these terms, I tend to cringe at words used more for straw men or to retain a status quo. Terms that bar us all from spotting problems or offering solutions to shape burgeoning democracies with humans as core currency, and high performance minds holding down the helm. Thankfully the way we raise and banter issues across our different pasts, also allows people to hold new alternatives up to the rainbow freely – for another look.
Maybe the way Dave Taylor raised this cool conversation initially, is precisely what leads more people to a genuinely healthy democracy. And who would deny that our democracy could use a tad more health, or that we’d not all cotton to humor that appeals to most? What do you think?
See Related Sites: