Is Your ‘Right’ A Wrong In Disguise?

3 Feb

I’ve written so many blog posts in which I’ve censored myself, sacrificing bald truth at the altar of political correctness.  Even my most controversial posts have been censored to spare myself from the worst vitriol and vicious diatribe of those who might oppose my views yet, even censored, when I am about to hit that ‘publish’ button for a post I suspect will rain accusation from others upon my head, my heart pounds and my hands literally shake.  I read and then re-read my post countless times, looking for any statement or opinion that I might have forgotten to ‘PC’-up, anything that I think could be misinterpreted or misconstrued.  Why do I do this?  Because besides my own personal insecurity, people want to be offended.  We read blogs and articles looking for anything to pounce on, like vultures circling a field, searching endlessly for that whiff of carrion, that hint of wrong thinking that we can latch onto and launch an attack on the author about.  I say ‘we’ because I too, have been guilty of this, and often.

On more than one occasion I’ve read a post or an article and found the author’s attitude or opinion to be so offensive that I’ve felt justified– nay, duty-bound- to inform them of the error of their ways, and to do so in a manner which adequately expresses my displeasure with that error to the fullest extent; but justification alone doesn’t make something right.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, even when that second wrong feels oh-so-satisfying.  In reality, that little (or big) sense of satisfaction we get after blasting some blog author for being racist, insensitive, or just an outright idiot, should be our warning bell that we are approaching a matter in the wrong way, and for the wrong reason.

This intolerance we have for others expressing views or opinions we don’t share is the basis for every conflict in history.  The majority of humanity is plagued by an inherent conviction that our own beliefs are ‘right’, and that anyone who doesn’t share them should be heckled and harangued into conformity, and if that doesn’t work, forced into it.  Every single war throughout history started on an individual, interpersonal level.  Whether it was a belief, an opinion, an action… it all started with a single reaction that went unchecked, then spread like wildfire amongst those with similar beliefs, and the winner was whoever had the most friends.  The ‘herd’ mentality is quite strong in us humans.  Standing out, going against the flow, is dangerous business; it leaves one vulnerable- an easy target.  The need to be liked, to be part of the majority, is a survival instinct.

Am I saying that we shouldn’t say anything when we disagree or when we see wrongness being perpetrated, either in word or in deed?  Absolutely not.  What I am saying is that we need to check our approach carefully.  Have we re-read a post without the offensive words or attitudes and truly attempted to see the point the author was trying to make, or did we jump on our ‘PC’ bandwagon, waving our righteous flags of indignation because their approach to a point offended us?

A perfect example of this is an article that I ran across the other day titled ‘Why I Hate White Belly Dancers’.  First things first, hating anyone for anything on the basis of the color of their skin is racist.  All day long.  Without reading anything more than the title, I could have dismissed this article as being worthless, hate-mongering tripe and moved on.  However, being a blogger myself, I understand the allure of an offensive title disguising a ‘make you think’ article.  Upon giving the article a read, I discovered that the offensive title fit the article quite well.  It was as full of racism as the title suggested and yes, initially I was offended (even though I’m not a belly dancer).

At this point, I could have simply focused on her ‘attitude’ toward white women who not only publicly perform but even those who learn the dance itself.  I could have left, despising the author for her views or commented and expressed my offense at her words or done a myriad of other things, but what I did instead was pause for a moment and re-read her article.  I ignored her references to race or country of origin, and tried to see what she was actually trying to say, behind the bitterness toward one specific demographic.  What I found was an article that, with its racism and vitriol banished to never-never land, had basis and merit.  She did have just cause to feel anger and resentment and sadness, she was simply pointing her finger in the wrong direction.

After reading her article through fresh perspective, I then proceeded to the comments.  I saw plenty of people (of all races) who blasted her with both barrels because of her racism… but totally missed the valid points she was making.  I saw some supporting not only her points but her racism, as well.  I saw arguments break out between commenters about whether the article was or was not racist, although thankfully they were mild compared to some I have seen.

In the end, I chose to leave no comment at all.  Her views are based on her own feelings of race, culture, right and wrong.  There were plenty of people telling her how and why she was a racist.  There were plenty of people (okay, like two- but they were very very vocal) telling her why she was right and not a racist at all.  And there were even a fair number of people who were able to look past the racism and see the validity of the points beneath, applaud her for her good points and shake their fingers at her over the other.  I didn’t feel the need to jump on the bandwagon with any of them because anything I would have said (and in any manner in which I may have said it) had already been expressed.  What I did was walk- erm, click away with a deeper understanding of not only the manner in which culture and tradition are lost, but also a better idea of the proper and respectful way to participate in another culture’s traditions… and the knowledge that my participation alone would be enough for a minority of others to dislike me, simply because my skin is the wrong color; which may sound snarky at first glance, but it was truly a thought that had never even occurred to me, and if I had first encountered it in a real-life situation that was applicable to me, it would have wounded me to the core.  Now I at least know to expect it.  I learned something- several somethings in fact, and this would never have happened if I had not been able to put aside my initial reaction and look below the surface of her article.

I suppose all I’m trying to say is when you read a blog post or an article that ruffles your feathers, sometimes it’s worth the effort it takes to ignore your personal feelings and look for the deeper message.  Try not to focus on how what they’re saying makes you feel, and instead focus on what they’re really trying to say. 

We all have our hang-ups.  We all have our own thoughts and feelings that don’t necessarily fit in prettily with today’s ‘PC’, offend no one attitude, and sometimes it’s just not possible to make a point without stepping on some toes, either intentionally, out of necessity or out of ignorance.  We have no control over the thoughts, opinions or actions of others, only over ourselves.  If we take offense to something someone says, it’s because we choose to take their remarks personally.  We naturally see ourselves in every thought and opinion anyone else expresses, and tend feel it is our God-given right to show them the error of their ways if we perceive them to be wrong, instead of looking for and focusing on the message.  Sometimes the only positive that can come out of a thing is our ability to turn it into an opportunity for personal growth… and if there’s not one single redeeming thing to be found in the content of a post, article or conversation… the opportunity for personal growth can sometimes only be found in our ability to simply walk away and not contribute to the nasty commentary that is bound to follow.  There are more than enough people on that bandwagon already.

Besides, how boring would life be if we all had the same exact views and expressed them the same exact way?  Our differences make us human, they make us interesting, and they’re the impetus behind our personal growth.  Don’t bemoan or rail against our differences, even the vast and seemingly insurmountable ones, because they simply point us toward where the strongest bridges are needed.

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6 Responses to “Is Your ‘Right’ A Wrong In Disguise?”

  1. Joshua Bagby March 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    I am in love with you first paragraph. I would like to court it and marry it. You have also touched why I am not so active anymore on Facebook and in blog comments. I think we each have our own path, our own route through the mountain pass of life, and for me it’s becoming more futile to think I have a solution for anyone but myself. I still play online, but not as much and I do not take it as seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • KraftedKhaos March 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      Awww! Thank you Joshua! I’ve been so long gone from posting on my blog, I have found myself floundering and feeling more than a little nervous and insecure about my topics and content. With very little in the way of feedback to let me know if I’m shooting myself in the foot or not, it’s made me second-guess myself more than once, lol. It’s uplifting and quite frankly a relief to know that I’m not simply tilting at windmills. I am so glad something resonated, and I am so glad to see that you didn’t completely give up on me, my friend! It’s so good to ‘see’ you, and thank you so much for your comment!

      Like

      • Joshua Bagby March 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

        Ironically, I think one of the more challenging things that happened to me was that one of my posts got “freshly pressed,” and suddenly while I was used to about 10 visits a day, I had 800. Well, I suddenly got a little too full of myself and quit having so much fun just blogging the silly stuff. I took myself too seriously. I sweated over each paragraph and wondered about the consequences of every sentence. I also noticed that most of the people who commented on my post about celibacy (the one that got freshly pressed) told their sad stories or hugged me in agreement, and then vanished into cyberspace. So ultimately I am veering back to the idea that I write my blog for me, for my own enjoyment, self-expression, and personal growth. I am happy that I get your posts in my email!

        Like

        • KraftedKhaos March 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

          I can understand that. I’ve never been ‘freshly pressed’, and I still sweat over every word, wondering how it might be misinterpreted or how it can be twisted to fit someone else’s idea of ‘wrong’. I am constantly aware that my posts can be found by anyone of any race, religion, etc. at any time, so I worry about everyone’s reaction, whether they read my blog or not, for the simple fact that they ‘might’. The ironic thing is that this post actually started as an ‘About Me’ piece, sharing the insecurity that goes on behind the scenes of not only my blog, but my life. How it has stopped me from so many things, this fear of ridicule and imperfection. It’s funny how posts sometimes take on a life of their own, and write themselves, no matter how hard you try to write about something else, lol.

          Like

  2. justkmm March 8, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Great post , found myself shaking my head a lot , Im fairly new to blogging , Im pretty sure my posts could offend at times if the reader took it out of context .
    These are our thoughts and opinions , right or wrong that’s exactly what I want to read as well … Facebook ugh ) : it seems everyone wants to look at all the goofy pictures , because everyones afraid to say what they would like ( :

    Like

    • KraftedKhaos March 8, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks, justkmm! You’re definitely in the minority if you can read an article that’s personally offensive and still manage to take something away from it. I’m happy you liked my post… thank you for taking the time to comment and let me know!

      Like

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