Just saw a comment in our demographic study that I wanted to talk about here briefly, and open up for discussion, as well, if anyone wants. The comment was effectively that we spend too much time on "being PC" or asking others to be.
"Political correctness" ("PC") is not the same as asking for a space that's safe for everyone here, and asking for all of us to be included. If I had to sum it up, I'd say what trying to be PC is really about is about saying things in a certain way to try and be kind or fair to "those people." In other words, having concern about groups of people whom one is not.
So, here's the thing: this is a very, very diverse group of people, so we are ALL "those people." As well, both among our users and our staff and volunteers, many people here are members of groups people will often -- inadvertently or intentionally -- stereotype, not include or make generalizations about. Plenty of times if and when we correct someone in a stereotype, or ask someone to please switch their language, it's not because we're being PC or asking you to be.
It's also because often enough, you've managed to stereotype one of us very directly, or a group of users we know are right here, reading and part of our community. In other words, sometimes when we ask people to please shift what they're saying or how they're saying it, it's about making sure our space is safe for users who are different than one of us; sometimes it's because we're the ones someone is talking or generalizing about or stereotyping, so it makes the space feel unsafe or unpleasant for one of us.
I probably don't have to tell you that our forums here are a very unique space. I don't know of another that is moderated as fully, or that has such a diverse group as part of a community. I also don't know of another where so many people really are so wonderfully mindful about each other, and we'd really, really like to keep it that way. I also don't know of another space specifically for young people where I see young people feel able to safely call others out on this stuff when it does come out without fear of harassment or ridicule.
So, this isn't about being PC. It's about doing all we can to keep our space warm and welcoming for everyone, helping all of us connect together, and having everyone feel able to be here without having to encounter being spoken about in negative ways as members of whatever groups we're members of.
That said, if anyone wants to talk about ways to do that better -- either as a staff or as a whole community -- we absolutely can, and should, have that discussion, and I'd be happy to engage in it.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 63244 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I just wanted to say that I think everyone here does a fantastic job of keeping Scarleteen a safe space; and to thank you all for the work you do to that end. It's really great to have somewhere where it's so easy and safe to call people out; and I can say that for me personally it's made it much easier for me to call people out IRL as well.
Posts: 134 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2011
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Thanks so much, loststone! It's really good to hear that. I agree, I think having a safe space for everyone (and figuring out what that means) is one of the most important things we do.
-------------------- “In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.” Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006
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