Interpretation is Everything – 67
Stand up comedian on Political correctness.
I shared a video of a stand up comedian talking about political correctness. It got lots of “likes”, but it also got a few dissenting comments about disenfranchising people. I saw this vid as a joke, but not everyone found it funny. Some saw it as being pro-discrimination, or at least perpetuating stereotypes. I saw the video making a statement about people lacking resilience, being thin skinned, and the modern day situation where just about everything you say is bound to offend someone out there.
Definitions of PC
agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people
A way that we speak in America so we don’t offend whining pussies.
Only pathetically weak people that don’t have the balls to say what they feel and mean are politically correct pussies.
a term which, in modern usage, is used to describe language, policies, or measures which are intended not to offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society. In the media, the term is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive.
The concept of PC is interpreted differently by different people.
After a bit of investigation, it seems that on average conservatives view PC as people being overly sensitive and thin skinned. Liberals see PC as preventing the perpetuation of stereotypes and discrimination.
Political correctness could be discussed as a single topic for an entire podcast or series of podcasts, but today’s focus is on perspective.
Another example of different interpretations is the rebel flag, the southern civil war battle flag. Some see it as a symbol for slavery and oppression. Others see it as a piece of history, a symbol of rebellion, an icon of the south. It is popular with country music and country like southern folk. I have seen kids drive around with the flag in the back window of their pickup. For the most part I saw southern kids view the flag as a symbol of “rebellion”. Kids rebel against whatever generation of adult authority there happens to be when they are coming into their own. Back in the day it was James Dean in a leather jacket on a motorcycle. However I can understand how some people can associate the flag with slavery, something that is understandably offensive. So we have 2 groups who see the same object (a flag) and interpret it completely differently.
Confirmation bias is what causes us to form an opinion based on already existing beliefs. We will discount information that disagrees with what we already know and give more credibility to information that agrees with our existing beliefs. An example of confirmation bias is when we see the news, we watch it with the filter of all the experiences we had in our lifetime.
Cognitive dissonance is the inability to hold opposing viewpoints concurrently. We can’t believe that fire is both good and bad. It has to be one or the other. If we take into consideration nuanced points, then we can begin to see that there are shades of grey rather than seeing everything as just black and white. An example of cognitive dissonance is if someone tells you that rollercoasters are fun, if you had a very bad experience with them you will fear them. Trying to think they are fun and life threatening at the same time is cognitive dissonance.
We have a large divergence on controversial issues, and because of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, it seems that all information is interpreted in such a way that people stick to their views and few are convinced to change their minds on the beliefs which they current hold.
The majority of people get their beliefs from the people who they spend the most time with. Usually this is their family and close friends. Occasionally some people will have an epiphany and pivot on their beliefs, sometimes changing them completely. Maybe an experience they had or a book they read will cause them to re-evaluate their belief system and make a change. However for the majority of people it is the luck of birth that determines who your family is, and usually geographic location or social circumstances that dictate who your friends will be. And therefore determines your belief system.
It is OK to feel strongly about your beliefs. If one changed their mind constantly they would be considered flaky or scatterbrained, or maybe skitso.
However it is unlikely that a person is holding a correct belief if they are completely closed to considering alternate ideas. One should always take into consideration new information and re-assess their viewpoint. If they have a valid view based on solid evidence and logic, then it is highly unlikely they will reach a conclusion to change that viewpoint. But sadly the confirmation bias keeps people deeply entrenched in their beliefs. This happens often with controversial issues.
I like to use the soup can metaphor to demonstrate how 2 people can see the same object at the same time but interpret it as something completely different. Imagine there are 4 people standing in a circle (or square) at right angles to each other. Now imagine a soup can (or any can for that matter) hung from the ceiling at eye level. All 4 people are the same height. The first person can see the top of the can, he sees a circle. The person to his right and left will see the side of the can and it will appear as a rectangle. The person opposite to the first guy will see the bottom of the can, and that view will be identical to the first guy. All 4 people see the same thing, but at different angles. 2 of them see circles while the other 2 see rectangles. Anyone in-between these 4 observers will likely see a soup can (cylinder). Try this at home.
We need to try very hard to look at talking points from the other person’s perspective and try to understand why they think the way they do. Those who do this are more likely to successfully negotiate and make progress, especially on controversial issues. Sometimes 2 groups will arrive at the conclusion that they both understand an issue but still disagree. At this point we need to agree to disagree, and respect the others’ viewpoint. We don’t have to agree, or even like it, but we have to respect it. That is a human being who has the right to their viewpoint just like we have the right to ours. You are probably thinking “how can that person be so stupid to think that way!” Believe me I feel that way often. But we have to live on the same planet, probably the same country, as those other people. So we have to compromise on laws and conduct. So it will benefit us to have the same definitions and see talking points from the same perspective, an accurate one. To be accurate you must understand it from both points of view. To do that you first must be aware of those alternative points of view.