Politically Correct Stockholm


: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated (also referred to as "PC")

One thing that I've noticed since becoming familiar with Swedish culture is they don't want any problems.  People are generally kind and go to great lengths to not offend.  You won't find many people saying offensive things in public.  If someone falls, no one laughs!  Except me, and then I'M the asshole.  Political Correctness is in full effect over here.

Once I was at a grill spot after a night out trying to get some fried food in me while I wait for the bus.  There was a drunk, English speaking guy trying to be loud and funny.  People were doing their Swedish thing (looking straight ahead and ignoring the world) until the guy started mocking the grill worker.  He was speaking with an exaggerated Indian accent and basically berating the worker.  The few people standing around shook their heads and one of them even said, "No, that is not funny!" in English.  The guy realized he didn't have an audience.  The grill worker got brave and told the guy he wouldn't be served this night.  He gave the man his money back and the guy stumbled away.  That non-PC stuff wasn't gonna fly in Stockholm.

One incident made me very proud.  I was with a group of guys and one of them had brought his little brother.  I believe the kid was 11.  They teased him a bit in a big brother kind of way.  At one point one of the guys teased him a lot.  The kid was pretty shy.  He just looked down shyly smiling.  Then the guy said (in English), "You're gay." In a derogatory way.  Then entire group turned on the guy.  They became angry and basically said that's not an insult.  It was like an NBA commercial.  *Buzzer sound* "Aaahnnnn!  Gay does not mean weak or stupid..."  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they corrected the situation.  I doubt that would happen like that in the US.  They are way more politically correct here.

The most extreme example of PC that I've encountered was on the subway.  First off, I believe the subway here at rush hour is karma at its finest.  All of these people that hate making eye contact and connecting with strangers are forced to squeeze onto a train car with... STRANGERS.  There are so many people packed in there that it is virtually impossible to look in any direction without making eye contact with someone.  Haha.  It's beautiful!  I'm always the only one smiling at the irony of it all.  Everyone else, naturally is miserable.  On this particular day, I was with my wife.  We squeezed onto the train and I made sure she was good on space.  We know each other, so she was cool looking into my eyes.  She grabbed the railing up top to hold herself.  I am 200lbs of muscular testosterone, so I didn't grab anything.  I'm too tough for that shit.  So the train doors shut and the train departs.  All my  200lbs of muscular testosterone were flung from one side of the standing area to the other (about the length of the doors).  People bounced off of me until I bumped into this unfortunate man in a suit and trench coat.  I grabbed the guy's arms out of reflex and kept both of us from falling.  I said, "Sorry, man." and he naturally said NOTHING back to me.  I was kind of embarrassed because I've only lost my balance like five times in my life (10 max!).  I looked sheepishly at Sandra and grabbed the railing up top.  She shook her head at me with a "typical Jon" look on her face.

Now me being a people watcher, I decided to pay close attention to this guy.  His body language suggested that he was processing the situation.  I actually made eye contact with him.  I had just bumped into him and put both hands on him.  On his jacket!  If that happened to me, I would immediately do a discreet pocket check.  But he didn't.  I must admit, that if he did, I probably would have shaken my head and looked at him like my feelings were hurt that he's a racist.  Yeah, I'm an asshole like that.  So for two stops the guy stood there looking uncomfortable, wanting so badly to check for his personal belongings that I might have lifted from him.  But he wanted even more badly not to offend the black, English speaking guy that has made eye contact with him.  I enjoyed this more than the uncomfortable people packed up.

I don't know if it was his stop or not, but the next stop, the guy rushed off of the train.  I leaned to my right to get a good look at him.  And you guessed it... He IMMEDIATELY checked ALL of his pockets.  The train was moving now, so if I would have picked his pocket, there was nothing he could do about it!  So this guy put Political Correctness over his personal belongings.  That's PC at its finest... or dumbest.  Lucky for him I'm an honest guy.  Until next time...


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