I had a very interesting experience the other day at the AT&T store. I stopped in to get some help and a young black technician assisted me. He was very polite, extremely intelligent and from somewhere in Africa.
For those who haven’t noticed, I have very long blonde hair, and I will admit I get a lot of compliments on it, especially since I’m 75-years-old.
So what happened? I’m glad you asked.
This young man, through a natural instinctual impulse, asked me about my long hair. He wanted to know if it was real, natural and what it felt like.
He said; “It looks like silk, may I touch it?”
I said yes, please do and so he did. He told me he had never touched a white person’s hair before. “It feels so different than mine. Thank you for permitting me to learn.”
Did you get that last key word? “LEARN”
Was it politically correct for me to allow him to answer his questions, or should I have denied him access as it would have been politically incorrect?
Know what? I don’t care whether it was or not, he was curious, polite and honest in wanting to know and understand. He formed no opinion of my whiteness or my politics, he merely communicated his desire to learn.
Why can’t we all do that? Why can’t we communicate our desires to learn about others?
I made a new friend at school. A brilliant and motivated young man who has physical challenges that make getting to and around the campus difficult, but he does it without help. As a matter of fact, he declines offers of help if he knows he can do something by himself.
He’s great to talk to but a little difficult for me to hear as I am going deaf, but believe me when I say, this young man has boundless wisdom and kickass determination to accomplish his goals. But he is always alone in his struggle because other students and many faculty members are too politically correct challenged to step up and communicate that they don’t understand what drives him and what he needs to excel.
I believe that political correctness has made these people very insecure. They want to know, they want to understand, but they don’t dare ask.
It is because of this that my friend often sits alone, at a table in the library. When he sees me coming, his face lights up and get excited because I come to see him, to talk to him, to communicate with him, to make him feel a part of the student body, to let him know he is important.
As we sit and talk, I often see other students furtively looking; I can sense their questions and insecurity. They too have challenges, they too need real friends, and they too, need to learn how to communicate as my friend does. But how?
Is it politically correct to invite oneself into another’s conversation? Sure, as long as you’re polite.Is it politically correct to ask about a person’s obvious physical challenges?Sure, if it’s done politely.Is it politically correct to offer assistance when concerned?Sure, if you see a need and ask if you might be able to assist. Is it politically correct to say, “I want to be your friend, will you be mine?” Who cares if it’s politically correct or not, making a new friend is more important than being politically correct. Is it politically correct to ask what causes a person’s challenges?Sure, my friend doesn’t want pity, he wants understanding and communications.
I wonder what would happen if those who sit and stare got up, walked over to my friend and said: “Hi, I’m …., may I ask you a question?” Would that be communicating, or would it be politically incorrect?