Ever since being added to the Purpology team of bloggers, I’ve felt the urge to talk about Political Correctness, as I believe it is an issue that affects us Western students in many ways on a daily basis. Western, being a top-ranked university, attracts hundreds of international students every year from many countries around the globe. This means that people with various ethnic backgrounds and cultures come here to London, Ontario to seek a university education. Upon arrival, they are immediately pressured into adjusting their ways of living, acting, eating, and even thinking, to a more North American and ultimately Canadian one. This is always a lot more tasking than it seems.
To shed light on this issue –which I believe is imperative at this point; I would like to tell a brief story about one of my first experiences in Canada regarding Political Correctness.
I was about 15 years old at the time and hadn’t been in Canada for much over a year when I was caught slipping out of line. I was in the middle of a heated conversation with a friend when somebody mentioned something that, in my opinion, sounded atrocious and odd. Not knowing nor caring about how frowned upon homophobia was in Canada, I shouted “Shut up, that’s so gay!”— Worst. Mistake. Ever.
It turned out that the guy I had made the atrocious comment towards was actually homosexual and was—quite rightfully so—highly offended by it. I was immediately showered with a lot of criticism, and insulted, for my bad choice of words.
Now the thing is, I never really saw the word “gay” as highly offensive toward homosexual people prior to my entry to Canada. I had previously used the word all the time to mean “atrocious”, “dim”, “foolish”, “hideous”, and other such words and had never meant it as a way to let out my “inner homophobia” as I was accused of doing that day. This is a part of Political Correctness that I believe we should talk about. Homophobia should never be accepted in any society but I also believe that it is imperative to teach people about it and not just expect everybody to suddenly be Canada’s definition of politically correct despite coming from different backgrounds—this, we must change.
Anyways, I might go into some more depth on the issue of Political Correctness and its role here at Western in later blog posts but this being my first, I thought it safe to keep it short and concise—which I hope I’ve done.
Hope you had yourselves a terrific Thanksgiving holiday.