Political correctness is a doctrine which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a bit of shit by the clean end. In my opinion, political correctness is a major inhibiting factor when interpreting bureaucracy and applying common sense (often the ingredient missing out of lots of decision making) in our daily life. This ultimately can affect our wellbeing.
Bureaucracy on its own does have its place, however at times it can limit how we do things because of the many layers of rigid rules that can complicate getting the job done on the ground. This occurs in everyday life whether completing tedious processes, filling out pages of paperwork, or dealing with a system that appears to be more focused on processes rather than helping achieve an outcome.
When a disaster strikes (i.e. catastrophic fires, floods and droughts) or personal health and safety issues arise in our life, layers of bureaucracy are not always helpful, they can exacerbate an already tense environment. We have spoken to many blokes who feel both frustrated and restricted in their reactions to these disasters because of the many layers of procedures that had to be adhered to. Common sense was taking second place!
The point about the effects of this political correctness doctrine, is that it enshrines both bureaucracy and common sense and quite often masks/dilutes what should be done and said and can also inhibit robust discussions.
Blokes, by our own nature are hard wired to be action orientated i.e. we want to solve problems, and we want to do stuff now. Once this is stifled by political correctness, a few things can start to happen:
- normal stress can become distress;
- short cuts can be taken (with increased risk);
- our natural problem-solving process is inhibited;
- blokes shut down and stop seeking help (we go into our cave and don’t come out);
- It creates an us versus them
So where have we gone wrong and how can we make changes?
- Don’t allow political correctness to mask what should be done and said. Sometimes we must be critical and blunt about our processes to keep them relevant and up to date;
- Bureaucracy should facilitate what we do, not dictate how we do it (not create barriers and thus frustrate people who are trying to deal with a challenging situation at the coal face);
- The common sense rule should be applied to everything we do. I repeat, apply it to everything we do;
- People/communities have the innate ability to band together and deal with stressful situations. This should be fostered thus empowering individuals and communities rather than disempowering through micro-management and removing them from vital decisions regarding their own lives and local community;
- Language is always important. Appropriate language that can be understood needs to be used. A robust discussion is vital to air all points of view and to prevent mistakes being repeated.
Remember at the end of the day we are responsible for our own wellbeing. Hopefully these suggestions, encourages communities to claim back some responsibility and ownership. This would bring about positive change not only in blokes lives but the whole of the community.
By The Regional Men’s Health Initiative