“Well how the hell am I supposed to know?” you demand.
Knowing someone’s religious affiliations and practices is extraordinarily intimidate: getting it right shows you care about that person. If anything it is a way to differentiate between blanket greetings and intimate wishes exchanged with loved ones.
I’ve found that those who complain most about political correctnes (1) have a different definition of it and consequently a strange perception of what is politically correct and (2) they don’t realize they contradict themselves with this definition. If they define political correctness as restricting language in order to avoid offending, then demanding that the title of your holiday be upheld and respected while erasing the identity of others is in itself an act of political correctness.
I understand that hearing the word “Christmas” gives everyone warm fuzzy feelings. Hell I don’t even celebrate Christmas and I get warm fuzzy feelings around Christmas, because I’m surrounded by people who do celebrate it and the emotions are absorbed. But if you’re arguing that people shouldn’t be offended by “Merry Christmas” (which, I have yet to meet anyone who has actually been offended by being wished a Merry Christmas) why have you the right to be offended by “Happy Holidays”?
It is incredibly intriguing that those who accuse Leftists of being faux activists and hipsters–which many of them certainly are–do not hesitate to adopt that same hipster mentality in explicitly expressing political incorrectness in the hopes of being perceived as “edgy.” Rebel against the “suffocating, mentality numbing overly-sensitive oppressors”! It’s not racist if you’re “INTELLECTUALLY” racist… Right? Right? This is not only the same mentality of faux activism but really bad faith. If you point out “this race is the most violent”–what, exactly, are you attempting to accomplish? How is this resolved? Though it may be a social construct race is not typically easily alterable, and it is rarely the cause in the first place. You have termed the statement to betray that you view race as the cause–the problem–rather than the much more likely factors of situation; dangerously, you have contributed to the cycle of a self-fulfilling prophecy–it is not about keeping yourself from offending people, it’s about keeping yourself from destroying them through misanalysis. And when you do this to a disadvantaged minority who does not have access to resources and is less likely to seek out resources due to a number of different restraints and restrictions and now believes who they are is the problem, destruction is practically inevitable.
Our perception of race–closely tied to our perception of culture–is highly problematic. It fuses together the notions of violence with the qualities of being human. Culture that is tied to race is not violent: rather, violence is an intrusion. Violence is its own culture. It is something that is prevalent on a global level–when it isn’t overt it is just as dangerous in its subtlety. It doesn’t have a race. I’m always amused when people who doubt that we live in a rape culture ask me “Well what about these people?! You call US a rape culture–look at THEM!” (Just to be clear, with the current state of the world today, every culture has a rape culture.) But that’s it: No, I didn’t call you a rape culture, I specifically said we live in one–the elements are there; it’s not that it is a rape culture (unless we are speaking of everything that makes up rape culture being a culture by itself which it most certainly is) but that we have one and we live in it. And rape culture needs to stop.
I don’t believe humans are always awesome all the time and that everyone is good at heart and all that (well, sometimes) but the majority of people in any given culture will view violence as an intrusion. With the nature of privilege and power, we will no doubt absorb and reflect some of the same mentality as those who spread it, but I sincerely doubt most people want this. I don’t want to sound like I’m advocating a war on violence or something absurd (*groan* oh God please, just no) but just as someone who’s known (and grown up with) quite a few people whose cultures would be perceived as violent, they have nearly always viewed this as this is not how it’s meant to be; this is not how we has human beings behave and treat other human beings. And though this consciousness may be buried under layers of the tyranny of power and privilege conditioning, it does exist and resurface.
That is my experience.