[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he temperature might be dropping more quickly than the newest mixtape, but spirits are rising: The holiday season is upon us, and every shop worth their salt is already making changes to suit the soon-to-be festive air. Unfortunately, there’s no stopping people from getting a little salty over changes that offend their sensibilities.
Recently, Starbucks unveiled this year’s solid-red holiday cups; now, it looks like quite a few people are seeing red. The absence of obvious Christmas-themed imagery has sparked some serious accusations; namely, that the company is adding to America’s war on Christianity; or that it “hates Jesus,” as evangelist Joshua Feuerstein of Arizona so eloquently phrased it on Facebook.
Likeminded Starbucks customers have taken to boycotting the company in a multitude of ways. Some have chosen to stop buying their drinks entirely; others have been going out of their way to call themselves “Merry Christmas” when asked what name should be scrawled onto their cups, ‘tricking’ baristas into adorning the cups with Christmas cheer.
Feuerstein blames political correctness for the alleged heresy, claiming that “we [have] become so open-minded [that] our brains have literally fallen out of our head.”
Personally, I think the people in charge at Starbucks are smart to avoid intentionally feuding with Jesus; look, if he can turn water into wine, what’s stopping him from reducing every PSL to plain black coffee and destroying their profits? But I digress.
The war against political correctness is a war against being a respectful human being.
Say we do, in fact, interpret this year’s cups’ design as an attempt to be less obviously inclined towards one holiday and more inclusive in general. Why is that a bad thing? Are the naysayers so unwilling to tolerate the reality that other belief systems exist that they’re boycotting a coffee company over their cups?
This situation reflects what is a far more tangible war against ‘political correctness,’ in general, which, really, is mostly a war against being a respectful human being. ‘Politically correct’ is used as an insult. People use it to mock someone, policy, et cetera, for trying ‘too hard’ not to offend anyone, blame it for ‘censoring’ humour, and generally complain about it.
Yet with rising frequency, we paint a scarlet PC on anything, big or small, that challenges our comfort in belonging to a dominant demographic. Nobody likes to be in the wrong, so when criticized for being insensitive, the first response is often to claim that the other person is ‘taking things too seriously.’ Similarly, whenever somebody takes the initiative to change something to be more inclusive, they’re inevitably disparaged for “bending [their] knee to a vocal minority,” as Feuerstein put it.
It’s come to the point where people slam things for being ‘politically correct’ because actually taking other people’s feelings seriously is just too inconvenient for them — it’s much better to remain in a bubble of supremacy and assume that the world should bend to make you and you alone feel like society validates your particular set of values. And that’s disturbing.
Honestly, I’m not convinced that Starbucks was especially invested in trying to be socially progressive with their new design. I just think that the ensuing reaction to such a miniscule detail is very telling of just how zealously some people will fight to stay closed-minded and angry, and that should be everyone’s real concern.
If nothing else, at least Starbucks chose a pretty shade of red.