In almost every conversation about oppression and discrimination, and what can be done to address it, there’s the inevitable commnetator who feels compelled to tell everyone, “Life isn’t fair,” or “If you don’t like it, leave” or my personal favorite, “Don’t get so butthurt.”
Well, I hate to contribute in any way to my attitude of complaint that spurs these comments, but I must note: comments like that are copouts. Condescending. Misinformed. Pointless. And, more often than not, they perpetuate the exact topic of complaint the commentator is now complaining about. (Follow that?)
Recently there have been a rash of “politically incorrect” signs that small businesses and, in the case of Georgia, a sheriff, have put up to warn/scare off/show complete lack of understanding of people who they think feel differently from them. I phrase it that way because these signs are often described by their creators as “offensive,” for simply reiterating that the storeowners (or sheriff) say “God Bless America,” “Merry Christmas,” or “Support the Troops.” I’m personally more offended by the sheer level of self-victimization that must occur for someone to believe that they are so threatened by people who disagree with these statements that they have to put up a warning sign. (Also, side note, why is this necessary for the store of a business? As you’re unlikely to discuss God blessing America or supporting the troops with your customers, how would you even know? And would you not want the money of a customer who doesn’t say these things? Poor business technique.)
The “politically incorrect” movement’s flags seem to be on two main topics: one, that by others expressing different opinion, it somehow personally affects these loudly anti-PC folks’ way of life. (Do I sound biased? Sorry, not sorry. Besides, the PC Crowd is far from perfect.) Notice that they aren’t complaining that they are being forced to say, “Happy Holidays.” (Because they’re not.) They’re upset that they don’t hear “Merry Christmas” from service workers who they don’t give a flying ball of tinsel about anyway. Notice that they aren’t complaining that references to God have been removed from currency, government buildings, etc. (Because they haven’t been.) They’re upset by the notion that someone they encounter might not believe in God.
The other main topic of the anti-PC movement is that everyone is “butthurt.” Even if they don’t use this term, the meaning is the same and the word is carefully chosen: the person who is offended has been violated in a painful and humiliating way. I’m putting aside for the moment that the anti-PC crowd are often the ones who scream, whine, and moan about things that have NOTHING to do with them (again, sorry not sorry). For example, on almost every post about #BlackLivesMatter, #YesAllWomen, #NotInMyName, and #RedCups, there is someone with a top-ranked comment saying, “Life isn’t fair. Get over it.” I don’t know who came up with that colloquialism, but it’s a pointless comment in any situation. No one has the expectation that life should be fair; what we have in this nation is an expectation that all members in our society have a fair chance. The complaints of these social movements is that society isn’t functioning in a way that allows for that. #BlackLivesMatter speakers aren’t talking about the grand cosmic scheme or the random mutations of genes or the fucking’ weather. An unfair life is one like Alanis’ song “Irony”; real irony that a nation bearing the Statue of Liberty and the Constitution saying what they say, don’t have the infrastructure, resources, or de facto philosophy to actually be the land of the free. And that is unfair.
Or, worse, the commentator says that everyone is “butthurt.” Beyond the fact that this refers to a common method of sexual assault, it’s an astounding statement because it assumes that one who complains about a (perceived or otherwise) malfunctioning society is entirely defined by . And without knowing the person’s situation, you can’t really weigh on how hurt you think they are or should be. It’s akin to an AC company hearing a complaint about a broken AC and telling them to just deal with it by opening the windows. They don’t know or care if an elderly person requires a certain temperature. (PC Crowd version: grilling the homeowner on minute details about the unit). In fact, asserting that someone complaining about injustice is “butthurt” is almost an admission of guilt. For example, on the article describing the Georgia sheriff’s “politically incorrect” sign at the entrance to the county, a commentator asserted that the sign was necessary to inform those with “perpetual butthurt” that the community would not give up its values for “yuppies.” A laughable remark, for sure, but what it really boils down to is people who want to hold onto their system of privilege. An influx of “yuppies” or whatever doesn’t give people progressive values; it’s not contagious in any sense. So why be worried? Because deep down, people who have benefited for years — for generations — from their particular configuration of ideas and practices know that their privilege rests upon the backs of people without it.