Correctness -> Correctiveness

I’ve hit a point where I can appreciate some memes that address political correctness. Here’s a quote that I particularly like after searching for something sufficient to include in this post:

“Political correctness is America’s newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people’s language with strict codes and rigid rules. I’m not sure that’s the way to fight discrimination. I’m not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech.” — George Carlin

Pernicious is defined in Keinnayi’s dictionary as “having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.” For those with an interest in etymology, because semantics is powerful, Kei goes on to say that it’s “late Middle English: from Latin perniciosus ‘destructive,’ from pernicies ‘ruin,’ based on nex, nec- ‘death.’” Thank you, precious computer. So now that those points are clearer…

The particular context in political correctness I’d like to informally write about is in the area of mental health. With awareness campaigns everywhere, the latest petition against Target®, a conversation I had with an older man hired to rake leaves off student properties’ lawns, my involvement in Suicide Group, oh and grad school … I’m tired and need to say something within my space.

At least here, the reader isn’t compelled to read, let alone agree. So if my opinion ruffles feathers, guess what? Whomever has those feathers allowed them to be ruffled. You may not be able to control your feelings – our biological makeup is reported to be faster in manifesting feelings before thoughts – but you can influence your behaviour. CBT’s empirical selling point, right there. Reacting and lashing out at first impression, first perception, is not justifiable in a general sense. Feelings are a source of information, not something to suppress, repress, or wield an iron fist over.

Psychiatry a social minefield: Patients/clients/survivors/etc., please exercise social skills outside the ward too

Okay. On one hand, it annoys me when I find evidence of people self-diagnosing. One does not simply compare oneself to a verbal description or another person and assume they have a “right” to declare themselves as afflicted with a disorder. Mental illnesses aren’t a fashionable label or an excuse for self-pity. There is real tragedy and beauty in being labelled with a disorder. In the society I live in, more often is it tragedy.

Apparently it’s bad to say “victim.” Seriously. SERIOUSLY. And I thought me not being allowed to refer to older (x2) adults as “elderly” was frustrating enough.

Man: Oh so you’re studying that mental health stuff?
Me: /frowns
Man: Oh, I’m sorry, was I not supposed to be using that term?

After years of multidisciplinary collaboration in medicine, there are two ways to list current diagnoses in DSM format. The public is divided on if they prefer the dimensional (V) system or the categorical (IV). An example is the fierce debates around Asperger’s being incorporated into autism spectrum, but I ain’t going there right now.

My fundamental issue with self-diagnosers is that they are not psychiatrists or psychologists, not even qualified to practise psychotherapy. In Canada, registered psychotherapists as an official designation can’t diagnose. Got that? If you’re in a clinic here, do not ask your therapist to confirm suspicion that you must be psychotic. Talk with your family doctor. You might be in for a slew of physical examinations before you hear zip about psychiatrists.

For my non-Canadian guests: A College is a regulatory body that protects the lay/non-specialist public. A College isn’t an educational institution being confused with universities (i.e., colleges), and certainly not an Association.

Registered psychotherapists could raise suspicions and frame behaviours as symptomatic of a disorder – and this has to be done carefully if approached at all – but can’t outright say the client is/has such-and-such. Even if you managed to purchase a legal copy of DSM-V (I’m glaring at them pirates) and read the criteria, that means little compared to someone who did medical school. That applies to Dr. Google, too. Which isn’t actually a M.D., but I digress. DSM is based on statistics, and diagnostics require familiarity with the structure and function of the system it was designed for. Plus much more. I should read mine. It’s a huge book on my shelf. It’s calling to me.

That said, now to another side. An article was presented to me, one attacking people for saying things like, “I’m anxious over this paper. This exam is depressing.” I don’t have the source, although I think it was on The Mighty. The argument is based on political correctness. The author went on to rant (it’s opinion-based and up for terrible embarrassment) about those with “genuine” anxiety and depression lack safe space and are diminished as human beings when normal people carelessly toss around these terms. Anxiety and depression want to know, “Where’s safe space? Can we invade it?”

This is why I brought etymology and semantics into this post earlier. Oh and context, a maddening yet vitally important concept.

I was reading a chapter in a class textbook for a theology course, and came across schizophrenic. My first reaction was anger. I looked back at the way the author was using the word. I realized something that changed my anger into appreciation: The author used schizophrenic as an adjective, a description – not a term. When I was able to understand his use of the word, I chuckled at the pun. Any offense I felt dissipated, because I took the time to work through my feeling as information, and opened myself to listening. Had a good laugh too. Who describes an ecumenical council as schizophrenic? That man. It’s brilliant. I need to cite this reference, it’s too good.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-58-29-pm
Screenshot from Keinnayi’s dictionary. Probably the Apple Dictionary?

Likewise, I joked to myself after reading that article, “Next thing I know, I’ll get yelled at for saying I’m depressing the gas pedal when I’m driving.” Today I caught myself, because the way the vehement arguments are going, that could be a reality.

Anyway, for the quoted offensive student, that poor hated soul is using words as descriptors, not as terms. It’s similar, if not the same, idea used to describe a person as narcissistic. But narcissism has its labels in psychiatry and psychology realms. Let’s not forget Narcissus, where the word is said to come from, a person/character/figure/archetype (pick your poison, I’m down). I’m pretty sure narcissus is a flower name as well. Someone remind me to brush up on taxonomy. It’s been vague since the year I took Biology 100.

Yes, the full-year course replaced by [something 101] and [something 102] after I wrote the final. Might’ve changed again. Does anyone know? I hadn’t stopped by the Faculty of Science lately, waiting for 2016’s honour roll to be framed and hung. Never mind, that’s something the undergraduate academic calendar archive can show me! I don’t want to hang out with preserved bugs in jars ever again. Nope. Now I’m nauseated remembering that…

I just insulted “genuinely” narcisstic people. Or did I praise them? Nowhere do readers of this opinion piece are given what’s going on in the offender’s perspective, we’re just handed a pseudo-authoritative argument for political correctness. Honestly, I’d rather call this political correctiveness, to me that better implies the goal behind the movement. Do I get to rant on people using triggers as excuses? I’d be supporting trauma survivors who live with PTSD. Select a hashtag for this mental health awareness campaign, hmm … oh wait, do those do anything outside glorifying a platform and get campuses to fund another exclusionary club?

I’ve noticed another pattern lately. “Logic” and nitpicking. It’s exhausting to converse with such defensive tactics. Funny how “logic” doesn’t seem to mean logic…

Witch Wars: Stay out and avoid talking with strangers on Facebook. Dangerous for your eustress!

The last outright vicious attack I jumped into was a Witch War on Facebook. I entered the fray because the prosecutor was convinced that Wicca had no ties to witchcraft, trying to lay smackdown on a recognizable Neo-Pagan practitioner and teacher. The power of sisterhood, folks. It’s a mean girls’ world out there. It was boggling how the prosecutor claimed that we weren’t understanding her context, but somehow we’re supposed to mind read and know precisely what she meant despite her refusal to attempt the same for me.

I have a notorious problem as an intervening bystander outside the Internet. It’s like only police appreciate my involvement when I won’t ignore something happening. Silly protective instincts. Campus violence protests want bystanders to intervene but hate/ignore them after the dust settles. I have classes to deal with too, and trauma from witnessing + reporting, you know.

Granted, I bowed out with a politely snide remark – “Thank you for this unenlightening discussion” – and apparently the prosecutor had to have the last word by dismissing everything I said. She couldn’t see how any of my points related to her arguments. I left the thread. Evidently that, in Internet society, meant I acknowledged my guilt and ignorance and awarded that woman with a trophy. The shininess level depends on how bullied she decides she felt. But the original recipient of the attack, along with other community members, supported and appreciated my effort.

So, what was your view on political correct-whatever again?

The point of all that is to show you, reader, that having a voice is empowering. Political correctiveness (sorry, I like this term better) is censorship. Yes, that ugly, dirty word that gets tossed around when speaking of someone as oppressor and abuser. Problem is, empowerment doesn’t really discriminate for who uses it for the common good, let alone a whole community or group.

Sun’s setting soon. I’m tired, I’m done for now, and I need to find more bread. Ethics exam is coming up quickly, plus a final paper and colloquy for theology. No rest for the casted wicked, I see. 😉

You know what’s cute about this? You’ll find more differences within a studied group than between studied groups. Who knew? I hope you learned that in your introductory research methods classes or paying attention to housemates (includes families). You’d need it when someone wants to blast you about diversity.

Oh no. I just appropriated wicked people. Oops? Well, at least tossing in some sass and sarcasm hopefully helped your eustress. I’mma eat this cookie. Pass me the tea, please?

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