Last night I walked in to Starbucks, ordered a hot tea and sat down to do some work. The employees were joking, singing, dancing, changing out signs, putting out holiday merchandise and somehow managing to keep up with the drive-through. It was a fun atmosphere.
I sat down and logged on to the Internet. Then I checked Facebook. It was all lit up about the red cup from which I was drinking my Peach Tranquility tea. Confused, curious, and against my better judgement, I clicked on some links to see what this is all about.
Apparently, Starbucks is being, “Politically Correct,” the red cup critics say. They are persecuting Christians and being disrespectful to Jesus Christ because they have eliminated the holiday design from their cups.
Not to be outdone by the cup people, Donald Trump has been busily taking on political correctness. He said, “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.” Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, dictating how we greet one another during the holiday season is not a specific power granted to the president. But that’s not really the point.
We’re engaged in a really big conversation about a topic that’s pointless. Here are the real problems with political correctness:
1. Nobody even knows what it means
What exactly does it mean? When Donald Trump was asked at the republican debate about his disparaging comments about women, he stated that he doesn’t have time for political correctness and it’s “killing our country.” I guess we are to infer that being respectful to women is being politically correct. And further, that being respectful to women is killing our country.
The red cup critics believe their Christian holiday has been defamed because Starbucks did’t put snowflakes on their cups this year. I’m just not getting the connection. We don’t know the true reason why Starbucks changed the design. Perhaps it was to make non-christians more comfortable when they put the cup in their car. If so, I suppose we can then infer that being politically correct means being welcoming of and sensitive to people of different religions, races and ethnicities. OK, maybe I’m starting to figure this out.
2. People think it’s “destroying our country”
It’s critics state that political correctness is killing our country. Could someone perhaps put together a cohesive argument about how exactly it is killing our country and perhaps just give us a few bullet points that would clarify that harm that it has caused? Because, I’m just really at a complete loss to understand this.
3. It’s distracting us from real issues
Since there’s no real explanation of how political correctness is destroying our country, it seems we’re just randomly attaching outcomes to causes. If this is the standard we’re going to use to identify causal relationships, we can solve a lot of problems. For example, coloring books cause homelessness, peaches cause cancer and the end of human civilization will be caused by red cups.
Let’s imagine for a minute a world in which this is how we operate. We attribute the cause of issues to things that have absolutely no correlation. We’d be outlawing coloring books to eliminate homelessness and putting warning labels on peaches to eliminate cancer and ranting uncontrollably on Twitter about red cups. Oh, wait, that last part is already happening.
4. Most people don’t actually care
When I walked into the Starbucks and Grand and Sidney in St. Louis today, as I do nearly every day, I asked the barista if anyone had complained about the red cups. He chuckled and said, “No, that’s just on social media. Nobody really cares except the news.”
This guy hit it on the head. Nobody really cares about these cups, but they sure have created a lot of commotion. We’re allowing ourselves to be distracted from real issues by something that a) doesn’t matter and b) nobody actually cares about.
Fellow HuffPost Blogger and Christian, Heather Simpson says, “As Christians in America, most of us feel that the movement for political correctness is a huge persecution to us, similar to Stephen getting stoned in the Bible. We fight through tears and prayer as people all around start to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and incorporate things like gay couples in bank commercials.”
At least all this talk about political correctness has served one purpose. It’s given some people who are in the majority a taste of what it’s like to be left out. If the red cup controversy is any indicator, the real opponents of political correctness are actually opponents of anything that differs from their own myopic view of the world.
Political correctness is not an actual problem, and it’s certainly not a threat to Christians, Jews, Americans, Muslims or anyone else. It’s a device that was made up to defend against threats to the status quo.
Political correctness is not killing our country. What’s killing our country is ignorance of facts and a lack of awareness of the real issues facing us.
Now that I’ve finished with my tea. I think I’ll go get another cup — as long as I don’t trip over the display of Christmas Blend or get disoriented by the Christmas music that’s playing on the speakers at Starbucks.