Penn and Teller's show on Showtime this past week was on Sensitivity Training. I enjoyed the show. It is sometimes uneven in the topics (perhaps they are running out of the really fun ones), but this was one of the better ones. The basic gist of this show was about how all the "sensitivity training" workshops various companies do in response to (or to avoid) lawsuits are total bullshit that don't really accomplish anything and are a waste of money just for companies to CYA.
While it is nice to see that pointed out, what really inspired me to post about it was how they ended the show. They had a foul-mouthed comic saying all sorts of insults to both Penn and Teller. They explained this was their own version of training - insensitivity training. They said that there are two ways to deal with people who say stupid (and hurtful) remarks. One is you can try to control the behavior of six billion people and try to prevent them (most likely in vain) from saying anything stupid to you. The other option is simply to form your own personal "armor" (the proverbial "thick skin") and so no matter what anyone says to you, you are protected. Looked at it that way, it is rather obvious what is the easier and simpler (and actually doable) solution. People will be assholes. Some do so to be mean, others do so out of ignorance or lazyiness. Some even by accident. Get over it. You can't control what others will say, nor should you try. Part of living in a free society is having to deal with people being mean to you. Better that you grow a thick skin than you try to harness the power of the state to stop it - because that power will inevitably be used in rather horrid ways.
And you can't brainwash people into not being assholes. Hell, I think all this "awareness" can have the opposite effect. Sort of like how if you are told not to think about something, that's a sure way to end up thinking about it. If you want people who ignore race and look at the person, you need to stop freakin' talking about race all the time. Sorry, but you just do. And in that regard, I'm going to talk about something else next...
4 years ago