Don’t be an asshole.

That line, right there? That should be the rule that we all abide by in life. More and more, we are flooded with movements towards “political correctness” and advocates for equality. These are good things, inherently, but are often misconstrued, misinterpreted, and ultimately, exploited for selfish reasons under a banner of good intent.

We don’t need to strip our vocabulary of certain words. We don’t need to make certain ideals taboo. We just need to not be assholes to each other.

The plight of the white man is that he is often in a position where he can do no right. Saddled with the sins of his fathers, his opinion is pooh poohed in manners of social equality, as he has had it good for so long, that he’s not allowed to have an opinion in woman’s rights, not allowed to voice an opinion about the “redskins” moniker, etc.

Often in these scenarios, discussions break down rapidly, and detest rears its ugly head. Discussions of this manner turns into mud slinging, and no real middle ground is obtained.

Ironically, the type of “social grouping” that is often meant to be avoided, springs up in discourse of this nature. Disagree with an element of woman’s rights, and you’re a misogynist, for example. Stereotypes and discrimination will always be present given that there are social groups that people align themselves with. You view yourself as part of a group, and the best (and worst) part of that group will be associated with you.

What needs to happen is that we need to cease drawing lines in the sand. We need to quit stepping on each others toes in an effort to find even ground. There’s enough room for all, so no elbows should be thrown in trying to find a proper place.

This is not to say that “the white man” has it rough. I would be oblivious to not understand the type of advantages I have. Instead, we must look at it as such: someone always has it better than you, just like someone always has it worse than you. Trying to group things together and say, “all men have it better than women” is not an ideal statement. “All whites have it better than minorities” again, not an ideal statement. People will always find ways to feel like they don’t have it good enough. That is a human thing, applicable to every single race or sex. Our nature is to want to have the ceiling lowered to make it easier for us to grasp, rather than having to raise ourselves from the floor.

Instead, personal responsibility must be made the key factor. What personal responsibility is that? Don’t be an asshole. The white male must not look at missed job opportunity and say, oh the minority got it because affirmative action, or that female got it because they’re trying to fill a quota. The woman must not look at a missed job opportunity and assume misogyny, just like the minority must not look at a missed job opportunity and assume racism. These people must look upon themselves and find out what they can personally do differently in order to obtain what it is they desire, and remove themselves from the blame game.

Obviously, these unfortunate elements (racism, sexism, etc) are still very much so at play in the world. It’s an unfortunate truth, but what good are we doing lamenting that fact? What good can we do by stamping our feet and crying “FOUL”? Instead, we must realize we can only control the life we lead, that we can only control our actions, that a life lived in an ideal manner (don’t be an asshole) is one that people will rally around. We need to be the change we see in the world.

Again, I’m not making mention of actual cases of racism or sexism, as it is still prevalent in our society. These instances are deplorable, and I wouldn’t think to make light of that. Instead, I can’t help but shake my head at those that feel the world needs to bend to their personal ideals, flying equality and social justice as a banner with purely selfish intent.

Those same people will often cry of racism and sexism, yet it is just veiled racism and sexism that they project themselves. We figure that if we are the first ones to point the finger, then we can’t ever be blamed as part of the problem. We keep clinging to our groups, saying that we’re fighting for our rights as a whole, while ultimately only seeking personal satisfaction or advancement. We squeeze so tight, we don’t notice the life escaping through our fingers.

This is a foolish thing to wish for in our world today, but I dream when country lines begin to dull out. Where I don’t hear chants of “USA” every single time a foreign fighter steps into the octagon, for example (an UFC reference). When race and sex become less of an issue, and we can view ourselves as the human race, instead of aligning to particular social groups. When you think about it, the “dont be an asshole” rule is broken all the time. If we were all grey, asexual blobs, there would still be assholes that you would hate to live next door to, right?

This intent on fighting for a particular group shows a certain narrow mindedness. Political correctness is such a first world problem. We relatively have things so great, that we are forced to argue about what kind of words we use with each other, or what kind of environments exist that we willingly put ourselves in. This showcases an obvious disconnect, one where we largely ignore the genocide, starvation, poverty, and oppression that goes on in the world around us. We think that political correctness is a major sort of social “problem” that needs to be fixed, while these actual, real problems go largely unnoticed in the world, because it doesn’t affect us, or the group we stand with.

So, again, all these instances of sexism and racism, political correctness, and other “pressing” social problems can all be solved if we each took it upon ourselves to follow the simple rule, “don’t be an asshole”. There can be a change in the world, we just need to lead the way. We need to be the change we want to see in the world. Maybe then, we can go about with an actual empathy for our fellow man that we like to pretend we have. Maybe then, we can quit worrying ourselves over who says what, and try to help those in actual need. Help those that don’t have a voice or whose voice is being quieted, rather than listening to the loud scream of “I’m offended over here!”

Political correctness and equality shouldn’t be about bending the world to our personal view, citing offense and “isms” when things don’t work our way. Political correctness and equality should be about setting common ground, making sure we all have the same opportunity in life. It’s about understanding others, understanding that the world is full of different opinions, understanding that we need to accept those who differ from us, and that we need to be personally accountable for our actions.

I write this, and I can’t help but wonder how something like this would be perceived. Am I an asshole? Am I presenting this view because I am the white male, oblivious to the good of political correctness? Am I really more annoyed at the whiny people who purport and abuse the idea of political correctness, rather than the actual concept?  Am I a sexist, racist, hate monger and just don’t realize it? Am I showing my ass by saying all this? Hard to say. All I know is that, even if my reasoning is wrong, I feel like the rule I’ve put forth is still worth following.

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