Standing in the middle of the streets of Detroit with my aunt (it’s her first crossing of the ocean, never having been outside her small village in Spain) says very loudly and wide-eyed…. “they are so black”. She wasn’t being judgemental or offending, she had quite simply never seen a person of color in real life and for her that was very different. (Did you know Spanish is the number 2 language in the States – very quickly I shush’d her).
The beauty of the last 80 years is that people now travel more, see more, experience more, question more…and hence, we learn more….or at least, I hope we do.
It still shocks me when I learn that people in my daughter’s generation have never even left the property lines of Hamilton, let alone outside the country.
I’d love to say that I came up with today’s blog title, alas, I did not….my friend Blair is a highly enlightened individual who is forever seeing the world in a positive light.
At last year’s Golden Globe awards, Meryl Streep was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award and gave a very compelling speech.
And yet…..people got offended. MMA lovers…offended. Football spectators…offended.
Listen to this one woman who points out how political correctness is something that should be thrown in the garbage..
I don’t know if I am simply been more aware of it lately or if my students don’t seem have any fear of caring what other people think and hence I am learning from them….but everyone seems concerned about offending someone else. Including myself…I can be outspoken and I am quite sure I have offended more than person.
What I have learned is the more I try to not offend someone, the easier and and harsher I seem to offend them.
So I give up trying….I either stay quiet or am honest in my answer. Either way, my main objective is to remain respectful to the other person.
It is something I love about Jiu Jitsu and being on the mat, it is actually quite difficult to worry about political correctness. Kinda gets in the way actually.
Picture this, two men rolling around on the mat, sweaty and actually a little stinky – well, ok, for some more than a little and yet, they keep sparring. Another example is when a man and woman are sparring, hands go everywhere. Not on purpose or in any way perverted but the fact is if a man has to grab my Gi collar for a technique, invariably there will be many times that he grabs more than my collar.
At first it felt very awkward and I have tried many….many different types of sports bras (I can’t help that I am endowed) – it simply is what it is. I cannot be offended or expect to be treated different. The best part is that I can actually joke about it while I find myself in that moment and most of my team members can giggle along with it. It is a brutal experience when you can feel yourself falling out of your t-shirt. I only wish I could look as graceful as Mackenzie Dern while doing it.
For me, I still have my moments where I am very concerned about offending someone while on the mat, I am pretty sure it is because Jiu Jitsu has in fact become a very important component of my life. Making my team mates uncomfortable is not something I want, I respect them too much.
If anything, I am always concerned that my awkwardness and continuous fear of breaking out of my comfort zone shines through in class and I probably do make others feel uncomfortable – then again, maybe not.
White or Black. Latino or Irish. Tall or Short. Skinny or Heavy. Young or Old. Rich or Poor. Man or Woman.
There is no room for political correctness on the mat because it is the one place that everything is real and everyone respects that.
We all have a common goal – the love of Jiu Jitsu.
Besides, it’s difficult to get offended when I’m coming off the mat all red faced and disheveled – worse when I know I haven’t trained even a 1/4 as hard as everyone in the room.
Thank you Marie-Laure On for your funny comics and take on Women in BJJ – they bring a smile to my face everytime. Follow her at Art of BJJ – a feminin look at Jiu Jitsu.
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