Every day, someone derides “Political Correctness” like they’re making an interesting, bold, or original point, and makes sure to make the point that anyone upset about what they’re saying is just too sensitive and simply trying to censor them.
None of this is new.
Enter Steven Crowder, mumbling something unintelligible for about 4 minutes, bemoaning the fact that “the left” is destroying America by making it socially unacceptable to call someone a “faggot”.
But further to the point of his video, he appears to think that the push for tolerance is actually a bad thing, disregarding the fact that the push for inclusion, diversity, and tolerance, while having some negative side effects, comes from many places.
And one of those places is Best Buy.
When you work at Best Buy, you have to do something called “E-learnings”, informational videos and quizzes to brief you on new products and company policies, so you can deliver the best customer ser–dang it, I sound like an infomercial. But you get the point.
One of my e-learnings recently was about diversity and inclusion, and it laid out the company’s vision for how those are effectively executed. (Hint: It’s a lot different than the Crowder video.)
The e-learning did the usual diversity thing and went through not teasing your boss because they’re old and out of touch, not bristling when a gay co-worker mentions their boyfriend or girlfriend, and refraining from doing mocking impressions of your Muslim co-worker praying toward Mecca in the break room. (Like, seriously, you take five minutes out of your day to suck a cancer stick. Ease up.)
But it went further than that, and then showed a couple of infographics about people. How many billions of dollars a year did Hispanic people spend in Best Buy? What percentage of gay people shop there? What’s the buying power of black America? Deaf? Jewish? College student? Etc.
The point that the video made was that this push for tolerance isn’t simply PC gone wild, or people being nice for the sake of being nice. It’s that being nice is socially AND fiscally responsible, and that you could lose out on huge market demographics by ignoring the necessity of catering to, well, the people that actually come into your store.
From Tolerance to Celebration
Which is why the training video even went further than that, to explain why diversity and inclusion was so important, and why we shouldn’t just tolerate people, we should celebrate them. It gave some examples of using the differences among employees to unite them. which is kinda awesome.
If you live in a place densely populated with Hispanic people, it might be useful to keep some employees around who speak Spanish. If many deaf people come to your store, maybe the store learns basic sign language. If a new employee has a walking disability, maybe let them work in mobile, where long activations give long periods of time to sit down.
And besides, nobody likes to be “tolerated.” No one wants to think that you only put the bare minimum into accepting that they exist and are a valid person.
Basically, this push for tolerance should actually be the push for celebration, and it’s the process of looking at someone different and instead of saying, “That won’t work” saying, “We have room for you. Let’s figure out how.” That’s an ideology shared by many of history’s greatest leaders, past and present.
What’s wrong with a world like that, Crowder? It’s the kind of world I want to live in.
One final example of this would be my relationship with my sister. She’s a Christian and a pretty firm one, too. But when I was coming to visit her in San Antonio, Texas, she said, “I know you don’t believe in the good Lord, but you betta’ pray yo plane don’t crash.”
And that’s funny. That’s ok. It made me chuckle. Because that’s what it looks like when people acknowledge and accept each other for their differences instead of either hating them for them, or trying desperately to change them.
The kind of world that I look forward to is the same kind that MLK looked forward to in the I Have a Dream speech. With the hope that one day “we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
That’s a kind of dream worth having.
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Photographer: Mike Mozart