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I went to a meeting last week that set me thinking -not for the first time – about how the world has gone “PC mad”.
The meeting in question was a “thought shower”, or to the uninitiated into the world of political correctness, a “brain storming” session. Of course, we are no longer supposed to use the phrase “brain storming” in case we upset those who suffer with epilepsy. Interestingly, my wife has epilepsy and she not only thinks this crass but incredibly patronising!
Another ridiculous example was the article in at least one national newspaper last week about the school that was teaching its pupils the good old nursery rhyme, “Baa Baa Little Sheep”. When I mentioned this to my granddaughter, who is now 15, she told me that she was taught the same rhyme at school as “Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep”.
Little Sheep? Rainbow Sheep? For heaven’s sake, what colour is the sheep? I must confess, I have seen little sheep (I seem to think they are called lambs?) but I’ve never seen ones that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet – or any combination of these. But I have seen black sheep!
Why can’t we simply say what we see in this modern world? Why do we always have to tiptoe around what has been good enough for us for many years?
I’m not a particularly religious person but I am well familiar with school nativity plays at Christmas. Why is it that some schools no longer allow these in case it offends pupils who follow other religions? Surely, this is a sort of inverted discrimination against those that follow the Christian beliefs?
I don’t want you to think from the above that I am an insensitive person – indeed, as a personnel professional of many years, I wouldn’t dream of insulting or discriminating against my staff. And that, therefore, brings me to the nub of my argument. At the end of the day, it is all about a single, very simple, word – “respect”.
Reference to the Oxford English Dictionary shows one of the definitions of the word respect as having “due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others”.
A quick look at the “protected characteristics” contained in the Equality Act of 2010 provides a good indication of the key areas in which one should be respectful and treat people – and I say this both as an employer and a person in my own right.
Whether we are talking about race, religion, marital status or sexual orientation, let’s not have to think about whether we are being politically correct or not. Let us simply go back to our good old-fashioned values and resepct others.