I was at a women's lunch last Wednesday when a woman at the table at which I was seated prefaced her comment with this statement: "It's not politically correct to say this, but......." I cringed.
What distinguished us at this table is that our homes are part of the same neighborhood within a very large retirement community. Our homes, arranged around a circle - actually an oval - with a block of other homes in the middle, share the same street name. We have a Board that deals with common interests and concerns. We have organized social events. Among them is the monthly women's luncheons.
Among the women attending last Wednesday's luncheon were those who were good friends with each other, acquaintances and (like me) strangers. Seven or eight women sat at each of the two round tables. At my table, the conversation was of the getting-to-know-you type as well as of updates on the health of absent neighbors and of topics of the day. Nothing particularly controversial. Nothing particularly deep.
I don't remember the context of the woman's comment, but it seemed to change the tone and course of the conversation. That could be the subject of another post.
For now, a few thoughts: It seems to me that the preamble "It's not politically correct to say this, but.....," is an invitation by the speaker to join him or her in disparaging people of different races/religions/ethnicity/life styles/sexual orientations, etc, it is a prelude to hate speech portraying itself as honest plain speaking. The implication is that "political correctness" is a pretension that overly sensitive people use rather than stating the obvious. It seems to me that whenever someone begins a statement in this way, he or she is about to say something obnoxious.
Later this same woman said that she wished that celebrities would keep their politics to themselves. I didn't say that I wished instead that she would keep her toxic opinions to herself, but I sure thought it.