Enjoying Free Speech in a Diverse and Increasingly Sensitive World
An Alternative to DEI Programs Used in the Workplace Today
"Identity politics is a political approach wherein people of a particular gender, religion, race, social background, class or other identifying factors, develop political agendas that are based upon theoretical interlocking systems of oppression that may affect their lives and come from their various identities."
Though its goal to reduce prejudice is noble, there are strong signs that DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programs offered in many corporations and organizations, have further divided people by social, gender, and racial identities.
Though its original goals of reducing prejudice are noble, as it is currently practiced, DEI has become a continual effort to divide people into "marginalized" and "oppressors" because of their social identity. This ideological approach has now become the norm in many countries of the West, especially unilingual English-speaking countries such as the United States, Australia, and England. A satirical way to describe DEI is the "Oppression Olympics".
Traditional markers of historical oppression such as being female, dark-skinned, or gay are now expanded to being unattractive, old, fat or disabled, and other groups.
Free Speech PREP
PREP: Personal Responsibility Encourages Politeness. Any open discussion will often bring up issues of race, culture, gender, orientation, and other ‘hot button’ issues. With PREP communication guidelines, we try to create a safe container for participants to feel comfortable enough to communicate freely with others of differing political views, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations.
1. Personal Responsibility
While a word or expression is offensive to one person that does not mean it is offensive to others of the same demographic or social identity. People of diverse backgrounds can speak from their personal experiences. However, it is important to make the distinction between taking personal offense and taking offense on behalf of a group. 'Trigger Words' and 'micro-aggressions' are personal. They are not objective truths. It is the height of entitlement for anyone to claim to be a ‘spokesperson’ for their demographic.
The advantage of taking personal responsibility when you are offended is that it allows you to tell a little bit why that word or phrase is hurtful to you. You can share an anecdote or a personal experience. Anything to your comfort level.
A person can easily bow out of a conversation while assuring the other participants that while they have a right to free speech, they have a personal right to leave a discussion.
Showing that you are taking responsibility for being offended is not accusatory as in "that's homophobic" or "that's racist". You are not lecturing or censoring them on what they can or cannot say in the future. You are simply saying why a particular word or phrase is hurtful to you.
2. Personal Politeness
In most cultures, is natural and polite to not say something personally offensive to another. That is the essence of living in a civilized society.
Being polite does not mean that one needs to feel accused or censored. An offensive phrase to one person may not be so to another. For example, the word 'bitch' can be offensive to some women. To others, it is not. If someone is offended by that word, they can speak up about their personal offense giving as much personal reasoning as they feel comfortable with sharing. One woman might hate the word because it was what an abusive partner called her. Another person, of any gender, might love using the word as part of their erotic talk.
Once it is known that a word is personally offensive, most polite people would not use the word when in the presence of the offended person. However, when they are with other friends, they are free to use the word again without any feeling of guilt. This is a much better outcome than feeling censored forever using that word based on one person's offense.
SISC: Social Identity Sensitivity Check
Everyone has different social identities. However, each person has different sensitivities based on those identities. Sensitivity often depends on situations in their life that create an impact.
A SISC score allows an individual to look inside and see whether their sensitivity is High, Low, or Medium with each social identity that they feel part of.
For instance, a person who is gay and black might have had much more negative experiences with their orientation than their skin color. As such, they might be more sensitive to any JISC comments about their sexuality than their race.
Each person can assign a number value of sensitivity to each social identity they feel part of. By creating SISC score, a person can control their sensitivity while respecting the individuality of others.
SISC allows adults to negotiate their personal and political sensitivities with each other. Every individual can share a single number for others to know the level of sensitivity they have about Jokes, Ignorance, Stereotypes, or Criticism (JISC) concerning any of their social identities.
With the Social Justice approach, the most sensitive member of any marginalized group can reset the community standard based on phrases and words that offend them. This is a call-out culture that has no end because the standard is increasingly raised to that of the most sensitive person of every social identity group. It becomes a censorship smorgasbord with an ever-increasing list of forbidden words or phrases.
SISC allows for individual choice in setting their own social identity sensitivity standards. Adults can communicate their social identity boundaries with each other. This is much less divisive than call-out culture or group censorship.
Two people with a low SISC score could have a more open and free discussion that may be politically incorrect.
If one person communicated that they have a higher SISC score, the other would have greater awareness, sensitivity, and compassion when communicating.
There is less judgment with SISC. We should all have compassion for someone who may have endured trauma or horrible experiences that led to a higher SISC score. The advantage of using a number is that each person is completely in control over how much more personal info they wish to share. A SISC score is enough.
RISC: Racial Identity Sensitivity Check
We also identify how and why we are offended on behalf of others. A RISC score allows us to make a distinction between personal offense and being offended on behalf of a racial group.