'Politically Correct' During the Holidays

The American School of Protocol is proud to claim graduates from over 40 different countries. In October, our Corporate Etiquette Certification class included an attendee from South Korea and provided a unique opportunity to celebrate and appreciate diverse customs and traditions.   All of our attendees came away with improved skills in the art of cultural inclusivity and acceptance.Being knee-deep in the holiday season increases the likelihood of exposure to new people and unfamiliar beliefs and practices.  Good etiquette demands that we are prepared and able to avoid offending others.The phrase ‘politically correct’ has gained a lot of criticism recently. Politically correct; commonly abbreviated to PC, is used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to particular groups in society.

Politically Correct

‘Can you state your feelings today and still be politically correct?’ was a segment on a prominent news show this week.  The host stated that it is hard because people take offense to so many things these days.With many people tired of hearing how to, and why to be more ‘politically correct’, we saw this as an opportunity to turn it around.  Instead of being more ‘politically correct’, we would like to encourage you to be more conscious of others feelings and try to understand different religions and cultures.We have listed a few simple tips that can help make interactions with others easier - - especially at this time of year.

  • When you first meet someone or when making friendly conversation while out and about keep the conversation light and tread carefully.
  • Asking too many questions or making judgmental comments is offensive.
  • Don’t assume someone celebrates a specific holiday.
  • Age is no longer indicative of whether someone is a parent, grandparent, spouse, or sibling. Don’t assume individuals are related or in a relationship.
  • Don’t assume someone’s gender.
  • If you are on the other side of this scenario, and you have been offended by someone, don’t feel obligated to explain.
  • If you are pressed by someone for details you’d rather not divulge, well, that person is offering a great example of rudeness – time to walk away.

In short, we must rid ourselves of all assumptions and be more aware of our words and actions. This isn’t the end of hearing about being ‘politically correct’, but we are hopeful that it might be a shift in the right direction.

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