cuchulain

political correctness and communication

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There have been many times that I have misunderstood someone on this forum.  Usually, my impulse has been to attack that person in some manner, or to defend myself from what I perceived to be an attack.  I have witnessed others misunderstand each other on a regular basis.  Dan and Johnathan have that ongoing thing about Atheists and the definition thereof.  ULCNeo had an issue with who could post on his topic, and many seemed to become disgruntled about that as well.

It has been debated who has the burden of communicating effectively.  But I have come to the conclusion that the onus lies on both parties.  If I speak with someone with a lisp, I don't become offended because they didn't communicate as effectively as I think they should have.  I take a minute to understand what they are saying to me, and I realize that they have a communication issue beyond their control.  Some issues are within control, of course.  Reference Dan and Johnathan.  Dan could take the time to consider that Atheists don't believe in nothing, and rephrase.  Johnathan could take the time to realize that's just how Dan says it and he might not mean anything derogatory by it.  Of course the possibility exists that Dan is deliberately provoking Johnathan.  But even if that is the case, without some proof that Dan is baiting Johnathan, I think(and it's just my opinion of that particular scenario) that Johnathan should simply give Dan the benefit of the doubt, or let it go. 

Recently, it seems I have been unintentionally offending Leopardboy.  Apologies.  I don't mean to be offensive to you.  It was simply how I typed it on the computer, I didn't think it through all the way, I didn't view every particular of every sentence for the possibility that what I was writing might offend someone.  I remember a topic a brief time back where you complained about wanting to post some other things but being afraid that if you did you might be criticized endlessly, referencing the contention with the Atheists and Christians of the forum.  I don't know if you will recall.  It has gotten to that point with me numerous times in the past.  Then I realized that it doesn't matter how others interpret what I say, rather what I mean when I say it.  The same holds true for you, for mererdog, for Dan and Johnathan as well.  And for all others.  

This is all backstory of course, to the topic at hand.  Political correctness, a thing that has been derided...yet persistently sought.  If people are tired of the pc, why do they vigorously pursue it in their own favor?  Hypocritical, a little.  I have been guilty of that as well.  But I try to do better, and I would like to think the attempt is worth something.  If it isn't, there is an ignore button.  Or willpower, or simply letting things go, you know?  I don't come on this board and deliberately call people stupid, fools, sheep...some have.  I try to refrain from that.  I try to keep within the parameters that have been set.  I try not to bait people, sometimes I fail.  But part of that is because the burden of communication lies on both parties, and not just me.  I can say something innocuous and someone can take it how they want, if they want to see an attack, they can find a way to make it sound that way I am sure.  If they want to think it genius, they can equally find a way to make it sound that way.  But in the spirit of being positive toward each other and trying to honestly educate or share points of view, does it do any rational good to find the worst way to interpret something someone says and focus on that?  That is my question.  

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15 hours ago, cuchulain said:

There have been many times that I have misunderstood someone on this forum.  Usually, my impulse has been to attack that person in some manner, or to defend myself from what I perceived to be an attack.  I have witnessed others misunderstand each other on a regular basis.  Dan and Johnathan have that ongoing thing about Atheists and the definition thereof.  ULCNeo had an issue with who could post on his topic, and many seemed to become disgruntled about that as well.

It has been debated who has the burden of communicating effectively.  But I have come to the conclusion that the onus lies on both parties.  If I speak with someone with a lisp, I don't become offended because they didn't communicate as effectively as I think they should have.  I take a minute to understand what they are saying to me, and I realize that they have a communication issue beyond their control.  Some issues are within control, of course.  Reference Dan and Johnathan.  Dan could take the time to consider that Atheists don't believe in nothing, and rephrase.  Johnathan could take the time to realize that's just how Dan says it and he might not mean anything derogatory by it.  Of course the possibility exists that Dan is deliberately provoking Johnathan.  But even if that is the case, without some proof that Dan is baiting Johnathan, I think(and it's just my opinion of that particular scenario) that Johnathan should simply give Dan the benefit of the doubt, or let it go. 

Recently, it seems I have been unintentionally offending Leopardboy.  Apologies.  I don't mean to be offensive to you.  It was simply how I typed it on the computer, I didn't think it through all the way, I didn't view every particular of every sentence for the possibility that what I was writing might offend someone.  I remember a topic a brief time back where you complained about wanting to post some other things but being afraid that if you did you might be criticized endlessly, referencing the contention with the Atheists and Christians of the forum.  I don't know if you will recall.  It has gotten to that point with me numerous times in the past.  Then I realized that it doesn't matter how others interpret what I say, rather what I mean when I say it.  The same holds true for you, for mererdog, for Dan and Johnathan as well.  And for all others.  

This is all backstory of course, to the topic at hand.  Political correctness, a thing that has been derided...yet persistently sought.  If people are tired of the pc, why do they vigorously pursue it in their own favor?  Hypocritical, a little.  I have been guilty of that as well.  But I try to do better, and I would like to think the attempt is worth something.  If it isn't, there is an ignore button.  Or willpower, or simply letting things go, you know?  I don't come on this board and deliberately call people stupid, fools, sheep...some have.  I try to refrain from that.  I try to keep within the parameters that have been set.  I try not to bait people, sometimes I fail.  But part of that is because the burden of communication lies on both parties, and not just me.  I can say something innocuous and someone can take it how they want, if they want to see an attack, they can find a way to make it sound that way I am sure.  If they want to think it genius, they can equally find a way to make it sound that way.  But in the spirit of being positive toward each other and trying to honestly educate or share points of view, does it do any rational good to find the worst way to interpret something someone says and focus on that?  That is my question.  

 

Have I really become THE bad example for the board?  Alright.  I'm letting it go.

:blink:

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Not THE bad example, friend.  Just the only bad example I could think of at the time, in that I usually participate negatively as well.  Sorry...didn't mean to pick on you.

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Bah, I think we all have our moments. Some fewer because they care enough to look for the balance between being honest and trying not to be unnecessarily aggravating and irritating. Others just do not care if they jab at nerves or not. Of course there are others who have that unfortunate foot-in-mouth disorder. I know I've unintentionally pissed off a few people just by making an observation and related statement that came off a bit flippant in this type of forum. It happens. 

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On 6/7/2017 at 2:47 PM, cuchulain said:

It has been debated who has the burden of communicating effectively.  But I have come to the conclusion that the onus lies on both parties.  

There are two distinct motives behind all communication. One is the desire to be understood. The other is the desire to express one's self. To create a mutual understanding requires at least a degree of teamwork, but self-expression can be a completely private affair. 

 

Wanting to be understood does not beholden others to attempt to understand me. Wanting to speak does not create an obligation speak understandably. This means that if I want to understand or be understood, I am asking for something that I am not owed. This is an important distinction to me.

 

 

Political correctness is just verbal etiquette. Etiquette is just a way to signal group identity and separate "us" from "them." It isn't about being nice, or even pleasant. It is about having a reason to feel superior. ** that. 

Edited by mererdog

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18 hours ago, mererdog said:

There are two distinct motives behind all communication. One is the desire to be understood. The other is the desire to express one's self. To create a mutual understanding requires at least a degree of teamwork, but self-expression can be a completely private affair. 

 

Wanting to be understood does not beholden others to attempt to understand me. Wanting to speak does not create an obligation speak understandably. This means that if I want to understand or be understood, I am asking for something that I am not owed. This is an important distinction to me.

 

 

Political correctness is just verbal etiquette. Etiquette is just a way to signal group identity and separate "us" from "them." It isn't about being nice, or even pleasant. It is about having a reason to feel superior. ** that. 

 

Hmm... That's all news to me.  Basic communications dictates not only tailoring your presentation to a way your audience understands but do to so in a way that doesn't put them on the defensive so that there is a bigger chance of them hearing and understanding. Also the fact that most people do not usually appreciate being talked at without a chance to be heard also. They simply stop listening or tying to understand if they know they are not going to be heard too. Why bother if it isn't a two way communication? If the speaker doesn't care, why should the listener?

 

As for verbal etiquette, that goes the same route. If people are on the defensive they are more worried about defending themselves from a perceived verbal attack, not really hearing or understanding what the non-PC person is saying. Granted some do over do the PC a bit but I can honestly say I've never seen it as attached to a feeling of superiority. Though I guess I can see if someone doesn't really have any empathy at all then it might give them that sense...

Edited by AmberLF

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4 hours ago, AmberLF said:

Why bother if it isn't a two way communication?

Because the act of creation is valuable, in and of itself. Because sometimes you just need to sing, and sometimes you just need to complain- even if no one else cares. Because a joke that no one else gets can be the funniest joke of all. Mostly, because the stuff in our heads wants to get out.

Edited by mererdog

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4 hours ago, AmberLF said:

Though I guess I can see if someone doesn't really have any empathy at all then it might give them that sense...

The problem with ideas like political correctness is that it replaces empathy with rules-following.

 

We don't use that word.

Why not?

Its a bad word.

What makes a word bad?

It upsets some people.

None of those people are here.

We don't use that word.

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My wife and I were eating the other day at Jimmy John's.  On our way out, she looks over and says, "ooo...a frozen yogurt shop.  Frozen yogurt is the best."  To which I immediately reply, "Frozen yogurt sucks."

I think this distinguishes things in the communication line quite well.  She believed what she was saying, and communicated it effectively.  I believed what I said, and I believed it as well.  Still, neither of us changed our minds.  We understood each other quite well.  Didn't matter how much she believed frozen yogurt was the best, I still don't like it.  Doesn't matter how much I hate frozen yogurt, she still likes it a lot.  And the best part?  It doesn't really matter if I don't like it, or she does.

Edited by cuchulain

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21 hours ago, mererdog said:

Because the act of creation is valuable, in and of itself. Because sometimes you just need to sing, and sometimes you just need to complain- even if no one else cares. Because a joke that no one else gets can be the funniest joke of all. Mostly, because the stuff in our heads wants to get out.

Sure, but since communication is about understanding, kinda throws a monkey wrench into the works if no one else understands and the creator isn't listening enough to realize they need to change the way they are broadcasting if they wish to be understood at all... even if the other party doesn't really think its funny.

 

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21 hours ago, mererdog said:

The problem with ideas like political correctness is that it replaces empathy with rules-following.

 

We don't use that word.

Why not?

Its a bad word.

What makes a word bad?

It upsets some people.

None of those people are here.

We don't use that word.

That seems silly to me. Part of it is also practice and what's going on in individual personal internal workings. If what you are saying can be hurtful to someone, even if that someone isn't there, you still expose yourself as being something of a jerk deep down. Again, if a person really doesn't care that they may be coming off as an insensitive jerk, then it really doesn't matter anyway. That's more the point than just "but none of those people are here."

Edited by AmberLF

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3 hours ago, AmberLF said:

If what you are saying can be hurtful to someone, even if that someone isn't there, you still expose yourself as being something of a jerk deep down. 

Nah. The fact that an act is harmful in one context has no real bearing on the morality of the same act in a different context. Otherwise, surgeons would get arrested for all the stabbing. As for thinking someone is a jerk... That is exactly what I was talking about when I said "It isn't about being nice, or even pleasant. It is about having a reason to feel superior. ** that."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_blackmail

Edited by mererdog

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On 6/15/2017 at 1:03 PM, mererdog said:

Nah. The fact that an act is harmful in one context has no real bearing on the morality of the same act in a different context. Otherwise, surgeons would get arrested for all the stabbing. As for thinking someone is a jerk... That is exactly what I was talking about when I said "It isn't about being nice, or even pleasant. It is about having a reason to feel superior. ** that."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_blackmail

Right, that's taking it one way to the extreme for the sake of manipulation and control but going too far to the other directions falls into being a bully. There is a difference between purposefully trying to manipulate people into or out of something, and just teaching basic compassion. Again it goes back to caring if there is a basic desire to not be flippant and hurtful or to just not care.

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Buddhism teaches the middle way.  I think that might apply here.  Be nice to people, but not fawning and the sort.  Be assertive of yourself, but not hateful or trampling of others in the process.  At least, that's how I think I will attempt to do it :)  

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1 hour ago, AmberLF said:

There is a difference between purposefully trying to manipulate people into or out of something, and just teaching basic compassion. 

Right. The difference between being motivated by compassion and being motivated by political correctness. The difference between not wanting to hurt people and not wanting to look bad. The difference between disagreeing with someone's action and demonizing them.

Edited by mererdog

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On 6/17/2017 at 11:53 AM, mererdog said:

Right. The difference between being motivated by compassion and being motivated by political correctness. The difference between not wanting to hurt people and not wanting to look bad. The difference between disagreeing with someone's action and demonizing them.

They are important distinctions, those whys and where froms. I admit and have tangled with those who are more concerned with following rules, looking bad and such. However I also know enough people from the concerned side to understand there are those who are driven more from the depth and height of true concern and compassion. They are out there. Both can be important depending on the circumstances. 

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49 minutes ago, AmberLF said:

 However I also know enough people from the concerned side to understand there are those who are driven more from the depth and height of true concern and compassion.

Well, sure. My argument is really a semantic one. I am basically just drawing a line regarding what does and does not qualify as "political correctness". Have you ever considered the concept of a "useful pejorative"? My thinking is that labeling something as politically correct is a way to highlight a fairly thin, but immensely important, ethical line.

 

I am not saying that it is wrong to avoid saying certain things. I am saying that specific motives for that avoidance are harmful. It is good to be compassionate, or even just diplomatic. I consider the term "political correctness to apply exclusively to where we are ostensibly motivated that way, but where the broader social context shows more sinister (for lack of a better word) motives at play.

Edited by mererdog

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23 hours ago, mererdog said:

I am not saying that it is wrong to avoid saying certain things. I am saying that specific motives for that avoidance are harmful. It is good to be compassionate, or even just diplomatic. I consider the term "political correctness to apply exclusively to where we are ostensibly motivated that way, but where the broader social context shows more sinister (for lack of a better word) motives at play.

Also important distinctions. I guess the reasons why are not explored as deeply as they should be and most are left to figure it out themselves. Unfortunately without having it laid out for them, many can come to a more self important reason than a compassionate one.

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5 hours ago, AmberLF said:

Unfortunately without having it laid out for them, many can come to a more self important reason than a compassionate one.

Also, when we become focused on following rules, we tend to lose sight of the reasoning behind the rules. When that happens, following the rules often becomes counter-productive. This is even more true when it comes to enforcing rules. And perhaps even more true when it comes to judging others based on whether they follow the rules.

I have to say, though, that I don't like the phrase "self important." No individual's importance can be overstated, as it is damn near infinite. The problem lies not in having too great a sense of self-worth, but in not having enough of a sense of the worth of others. This is not a huge deal, though. Just something of a pet peeve...

Edited by mererdog

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On 6/19/2017 at 6:01 AM, mererdog said:

Well, sure. My argument is really a semantic one. I am basically just drawing a line regarding what does and does not qualify as "political correctness". Have you ever considered the concept of a "useful pejorative"? My thinking is that labeling something as politically correct is a way to highlight a fairly thin, but immensely important, ethical line.

 

I am not saying that it is wrong to avoid saying certain things. I am saying that specific motives for that avoidance are harmful. It is good to be compassionate, or even just diplomatic. I consider the term "political correctness to apply exclusively to where we are ostensibly motivated that way, but where the broader social context shows more sinister (for lack of a better word) motives at play.

You also have to be mindful that not everyone will draw a line as finely or as broadly as anyone else. 

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