Is it really that hard to be polite, kind and respectful of those around you?

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February 13, 2020 by Kenneth Fisher

I dislike the term Politically Correct. Not because the original idea of it is a bad one, but it’s been misused and is now sometimes used as something derogatory. So instead of wondering if I’m being politically correct I like to do this. Before I say anything I try to ask myself these three questions.

  • Is what I’m saying polite?
  • Is what I’m saying kind?
  • Am I being respectful of those around me?

If the answer to any of these is no then I stop and and re-evaluate if I should be saying anything at all. Or if there is a way that the above can all be a resounding yes. Now I’m not perfect. I don’t always remember to ask them and I’ll admit, sometimes if the answer is no it doesn’t stop me. But I make the effort. And I try to appologize when I mess up.

This is a hard blog post for me to write. Recently Jennifer Jones posted this:

I’m Regretfully Leaving the SQL Server Community

And at first I was a bit shocked, then a bit angry, then very angry and I’m even now just cooling off a bit. She was not treated politely. She was not treated kindly. She was certainly not treated with respect.

One of the great things about the SQL community, sometimes called #SQLFamily is that we try to be better. Try to be respectful regardless of gender, religion, appearance, etc. You show up wanting to learn, to teach, to make things better? You are welcomed with open arms.

It’s not hard to call someone by the term the prefer. If say “Hi Mr./Mrs. Smith” and they say, “It’s Dr. Smith” then you say “Oh, sorry, Hi Dr. Smith” and do your best not to make that mistake again later. Right? If you say “Hi Mr. Smith” and they say “No, it’s Mrs. Smith” then the correct response is to start calling them Mrs. Smith. If you can’t manage that then I’m just going to start calling you Anchovy from now on.

Oh, and Anchovy, I have to ask. Why is it so hard for you to be polite, kind and respectful?

A couple of quick notes: I delayed posting this for a bit so could be sure I was cooled off enough that I wouldn’t say anything in true anger. That said, I would never actually call someone Anchovy nor would I recommend anyone else to it. But it does work well as an example. Before you act think about how you would feel if someone treated you in a similar way.

There is another reason I’m glad I waited. In this particular case the person involved posted an apology. Personally I prefer to accept an apology no matter how written and just hope they really meant it. I do that because I’ve found it’s the only way I can function in this world. That said, however you feel about the apology, in the end there are only two important factors. Will that person prove that they are willing to improve, and will Jennifer be ok. I honestly don’t have an answer in either case, but I can and with any luck, will always hope for the best.

With respect, kindness, and most of all hope.

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