Political Correctness

This was posted by a Dorset Ambulance bod. It was written after a talk about the need to remain politically correct about the language in the Messroom.

“Throughout the land, corporates, businesses, conglomerates, in fact, just about every work place is being subjected to changes in language, speech and behaviour.

This thing we call political Correctness has crept in like an unperfumed gas, and I think most of us acknowledge that certain things should not be said for fear of offending other individuals- human beings.

This seems fair enough, and most of us, before uttering something potentially inappropriate, automatically consider whether or not we ourselves would be offended by it.

Generally, most people I know regard others the way they themselves would hope to be regarded by others. It all comes down to a fundamental respect for each other. We, as a human race expect it, and demand it.

And what of this job, this workplace that is the Ambulance Service? A whole chunk of business, finance, training services, and then come the pockets of people going out day and night, rain or sun, snow or gale, meeting with a whole rainbow of people, patients, situations involving treatments, protocols, clinical decisions, life and death, trauma to make your hair curl, which can easily “tap” in to a depth far beneath the veneer of a paramedic, technician, duty officer, in fact any human being who may be faced with some or all of the above.

Our job reminds us on almost an hourly basis that we are not made of stone: we are mortal beings, and somewhere deep inside us, there is not only a quick thinking clinical mind, but a conscience – a brain that can go to pieces at any given moment, and a heart, that most passionate of organs, which can bleed and break very easily at any given moment.

Consider:

The parents you left when their child had been taken away from them forever. The children you left when their parents had been taken away from them forever. The good looking young man who would now never walk again, or marry, or have children. And all the other situations too numerous to labour upon, but we know, don't we? Because we, as bizarre as it may seem, live “this life”, where all these tragedies are a part of “this life”.

More often than not, if something tragic happens to a patient, we take that tragedy on board; for as long as it's will, we have that tragedy in our lives.

This is where I think that some aspects of “P.C.” have become stationary of “olde”, insignificant.

We have “levellers” on every single station here in Dorset, and no doubt on every Ambulance Station in the land. Our unofficial station de-briefs (which involves offloading to colleagues) demands that our feelings are heard, they demand that someone, somewhere on station will level out our tragic train of thought. It may seem “sick” to those who are unattached from this psyche, but believe me, when we get back to the station from tragedy, a really bad joke in the worst possible (unintended) taste, is usually the very thing that will mend us, and prepare us for the next call.

There is a danger that political Correctness does not acknowledge grey areas; it has become silly and often practically unworkable. Some of us just don't fit in to the 'shirt and tie' loop, where a definitive politically correct protocol is easy to follow.

We are thinking, hurting, laughing human beings, who, whilst being constantly aware that we should not hurt the feelings of others, need to somehow find the common ground, where the cloudy burdens of this jos, this life, are lifted from our shoulders.

We are the grey area.”

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