Political correctness is based on people being intellectually and emotionally “afraid of the dark”
Various unsolved social problems and offensive truths are regularly swept under the rug or ignored in favor a more delusional and inaccurate world view. Some obvious examples of this are when a friend or family member prepares food that comes out disgusting. You might eat the food and tell them it was decent to avoid hurting their feelings.
The same thing happens when we pretend some people are not smarter than others, or that some people are not better looking than others, or that some people are not stronger than others. We regularly favor promoting positive emotions over promoting truth.
In the short term, protecting feelings is effective at “keeping the peace” and minimizing conflict. Being polite to the people around you and not being completely honest about their negative traits helps you get along with them and makes you more likable. When it comes to conversation, people respond better to a positive outlook. Avoiding harsh truth and reality is often the norm in regular conversation. This is called “running from the dark”.
The problem with running from the dark is the dark still exists, nonetheless. Avoiding it and pretending it doesn’t exist does nothing to change it. The darkness remains whether you avoid it or not.
Running from the dark comes in two main forms:
The main problem with denial is the time factor. When you pretend an obvious problem does not exist, you give it time to get worse and cheat yourself out of valuable time that could be used to find a solution.
If you suspect you might be having a heart attack, but you choose to deny it and pretend it’s not happening, its likely you won’t have enough time to treat it by the time it becomes undeniable.
It is common for many people to deny a problem until it becomes undeniable; which is usually the point where its too late to find an effective solution. For instance, a person can easily deny they are about to lose their job in the early stages. There might be subtle signs like a strange behavior from coworkers and managers or being put on a “performance improvement plan”. You might even have a gut feeling that something is just not right.
Denial of the situation can continue until you get called into your managers office and told to walk. Now the problem is undeniably obvious to you and everyone else, and further denial is impossible. It is also too late to do anything about it because you pretended the problem didn’t exist.
Relationships are another common domain for denial. You might have a friend who is drifting away or a romantic partner who is losing interest. By attacking and exposing the problem, you might be able to reverse it through a discussion. However, if you deny it, this can breed more underlying resentment in both of you causing the relationship to implode faster.
Being in denial gives a problem time to grow and it cheats you out of time to solve it.
With Avoidance, the problem is acknowledged as a problem, but few steps are taken to fix it. Usually this occurs when a problem is seen as too challenging or complex to deal with or maybe not even worth the trouble.
A very common example of this is weight gain. With age many people become less active and “let themselves go”. This is usually not a fast or abrupt process. Weight is gained very slowly over time until the person is eventually fat or obese.
As people age and gain weight, they usually procrastinate about getting in shape. They say they’re start a diet next week or start to exercise as a “new years resolution”. They might even get started on the weight loss only to give up when results don’t come fast enough. This avoidance of the problem is usually done to make life easier. The problem is seen as too much work to solve and not big enough to be worth the effort.
Of course, this is only in the short-term because the problem eventually grows larger and larger until something must be done about it. But by then, it usually becomes so bad that extreme actions need to be taken to fix it. Going back to the obesity example, things like liposuction, bariatric surgery (stomach shrinking) and other extreme approaches need to be taken. Had the problem been attacked when it was smaller, these extreme and expensive measures would not be necessary.
On a larger, more dangerous and darker level, many social problems that persist in society today are due to avoidance. Society always has certain groups of marginalized people who are relegated to the darkness so that they can be ignored and avoided. Out of sight, out of mind.
This example of avoidance is very similar to the obesity example. The avoided problem doesn’t simply go away. It remains and grows over time. Marginalized groups of people grow more angry, resentful, bitter and desperate every day. These are the seeds from which terrorism, violent crime, and various forms of class warfare can grow.