OK. So, I am a liberal. Bob Schieffer said this morning that the dictionary says, in part, that a liberal is generous and open-minded. I would like to think so. I am also big on political correctness. But really. There is a limit. Isn't there?
I grew up in the 50's and 60's. I sometimes say to one of my nurses "Hey girl!" or "Hey boy!" My boss goes crazy when I refer to a male nurse as boy but it doesn't bother her when I say girl. My male nurses all seem to understand that when I say "Hey boy!" that I am referring to them as I would my brother.
I admit that these people may be secretly insulted but it hasn't yet reached me from the underground grapevine. It does not bother my boss when a certain someone refers to one of our young, black male employess as a Big Buck. That makes me crazy.
A thousand times I have said to this person that this is a slave term. It has not stopped this person from using this term. This person is a great big dyke. Apparently, this fact has not elevated her sensitiivity factor.
I am well aware that I am prone to a certain insensitivity myself. For instance, I must frequently check myself to refrain from personal remarks for the humor of it. I know my intentions but most people do not. And, intentions are meaningless if someone ends up with hurt feelings.
I remember my good buddy Telitha Cumi B. who always used to greet me with "Hey Niggah!" Every time she said it she would finish with "And if you ever say that to me, I will kill you." Trust me, she meant it. I got the message. No matter how comfortable I was with her, or any black person for that matter, I was never going to be allowed to use that word. It is a boundary I would not dream of crossing.
Social mores are fluid and ever changing. I cannot lecture young folks on what I may consider socially or politically incorrect. I can give them some history if the situation warrants but I still will not understand all of the complexities inherent in their social discourse. I did not grow up in the same world.
I do understand the whole Feminism argument though. The young women who disdain the feminists of my time who were angry and often anti-male. I was always uncomfortable with the anti-male aspects of 60's and 70's feminism. It never made sense to me that men were the enemy. And I am not convinced that young women are not thankful for those who came before. The fact is, as I see it, they are moving on and enlarging the issue to include men as allies.
In truth, I think the best thing we can do is refrain from name calling. Our thoughts and ideas will not always be "correct". I do not even think that integrity is our best quality. A white supremacist can have solid integrity of thought and action. Since we have to share the planet with people we do not like or with whom we disagree, I am afraid that kindness and respect are the best we have to offer one and other.
This does not mean that I am looking to befriend someone I consider a troglodyte. It means that when I do battle, I must consider the humanity of my enemy before I open my mouth to pass judgement. Sometimes, a moment of careful thought is the better part of valor.