Recently I’ve been reading comments on news stories. This is relatively new to me because usually I try to avoid idiots who post comments on the Internet… I’ve noticed a trend- there’s a lot of blaming going on: blaming religions, blaming Bush, the GOP, the voters for not electing Sarah Palin…etc.
I blame Disney.
Disney influences the majority of the ways children and adults think. Disney owns a piece of nearly every household in the United States and many abroad. Disney reaches far beyond the children’s movies, theme parks and toys. They own ESPN, ABC and just recently they sold Miramax for enough money to buy a small country!
Disney has also set an example of excellence, especially with their Pixar movies. They have given the world a lot of innovations.
Disney forms children’s ideals for family, beauty, love and value. Overwhelmingly, Disney teaches children good, genuine lessons like not judging a book by its cover and believing in oneself. Disney models socially valuable behaviors, such as tolerance and diversity in race. Disney has molded entire generations into tolerant, self-confident but unoriginal, socially assimilated people. As a brand, the world accepts and recognizes Disney as an innocent, child appropriate empire. Through market penetration, Disney controls what people think about and sets an expectation of what should be tolerated. Disney forms the ideas that we call “politically correct.”
My generation has been socialized to be politically correct. Political correctness has gone too far! In the world today, the pressure to be politically correct seems to trump individuals’ rights to have their own opinions! Since we have been exposed to this since birth, and are continuously exposing ourselves and our children to “the empire,” it’s no wonder in our minds we don’t even realize when we favor certain minorities and not others. No wonder we are so comfortable with politically correct speech, or increasingly common - politically correct silence.
Being tolerant of people who behave completely contrary to what you think is one thing. Having to accept that behavior and “pretend” that it’s “normal” in your opinion is political correctness- and that’s gone too far for me! What happened to just being able to say, “I don’t agree with you?” It doesn’t have to spark an HR complaint or argument at a party.
Our forefathers gave us a responsibility when they gave us freedom of speech. It is not only a personal right to speak freely, but also a social mandate to be able to stand behind your opinions! The first responsibility of freedom of speech is to form your own opinions; you should mean what you say, and choose your battles carefully. The second responsibility behind freedom of speech is being tolerant of the other idiots who also share that same freedom. The key is learning to gracefully and peacefully disagree without compromising your right to your own opinion.
The good intentions of Disney’s lessons in tolerance and diversity, coupled with an overwhelming market share, have turned my generation into a sugar-coated, politically correct, boring cookie cutter society! We have become too neutral. In the workplace, at home, and with friends, I am afraid to say what I really think for fear that it will be perceived as “racist,” “classist” or “prejudice.” At one time or another I have been called all of those things…
Show me any one person who’s not prejudice about something!