Think Twice: Happy, merry, ya’at’eeh, namaste, what’s up?
December 8, 2015
The phrase 'political correctness' suggests two attributes I try to avoid: Politics and correctness. Both are overrated.
That said, I wonder if there should be a politically correct way to wish someone well this time of year.
Last month's controversy, appropriately coined Starbucks' Cup-Gate, fueled conversations about the holiday season and socially responsible greetings. Josh Feuerstein, a self-proclaimed, evangelical Christian with millions of social media followers, started the conversation by decrying Starbucks use of red cups as opposed to using those that read, Merry Christmas. People responded with a tremendous backlash, claiming, among other things, that we should be more concerned about folks having anything to drink at all.
I've researched Feuerstein's posts, and I'm no fan. And yet. And yet, his complaint makes some sense. Although there are far more important issues that warrant attention (say, human trafficking or systematic poverty or a refugee crisis of epic proportion) than the lack of a Christmas cup, Feuerstein's raises a point about political correctness.
Why must people worry about offending others if they wish someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Chanukah; or if they say Namaste or Ya'at'eeh? Why can't we create a culture where everyone is included so that a greeting won't set off a public outrage? I'm all for creating a gender neutral, socially responsible, locally grown, vegan-tolerant and environmentally conscious environment, but I'm equally all for wishing someone Merry Christmas.
Instead of finding fault or offense in a simple wish of well-being; why not acknowledge the intent behind the wish? The objective to welcome someone with love and compassion is far more important than how the wish is delivered.
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Rather than stripping a season of joy or removing true, reflective words from a holiday, let's use the correct vocabulary used by those who celebrate. Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, and Eid Mabarek shouldn't be offensive words. Instead of launching a social media campaign about how a greeting is executed, let's check our political correctness at the door and wish everyone well, accepting the gift in return.
Carrie Brown-Wolf lives in Silverthorne.
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