How has political correctness changed the industry?

My co-worker, Fred, and I were discussing how the PC movement and easily offended people have changed the industry. When I started in 2001, advice I was given was work hard, do your best work, support your shipmates and develop thicker skin… Over the course of almost 16 years, I saw a lot of politicking and it’s not my job Or look he fucked up… (tosses a person under a passing bus)…

What are your views and experiences?

You will find your glad-handers, two-facers, braggarts, bullshitters and narcissists in all walks of life, from the top all the way down. I think the only thing that changed with the PC movement is no more pin-ups on the bridge or control room.


I just had an ISM audit and the auditor was curious why I’d been hammering the harassment training three times a year when evrything else was being done only once. My answer that we were getting mission statements from the CEO twice a year reminding everyone that harassment is the number one item to be focusing on, got a nod and a shrug.

I turn 20-50% of my crew ober every 4 weeks. How can you not be standing at the top of the gangway without a copy of the dvd for new crew to digest before sailing? Even before being shown heir lifeboat. :roll_eyes:


Even though it has changed I bet we are one of the least in today’s world. I’m surprised no one has chanellenged the title “master”

Please don’t give the millennials any ideas. Next you know " Chief" will be struck from credentials due to some forgotten tribe claiming likeness to the name.

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Haven’t had my title as Master challenged yet but did have an AB question the Master and Slave clock set up on the bridge once? I pointed out the slave gyro repeaters and slave abilities of the radars so he could hopefully understand that it is the definition of the word that has meaning onboard the ship, not his perception of what they mean. One orders the other. No need to read any further into it

You racist. . . .


I’m offended and going to my happy place

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I have to admit taking down a Huster calendar in the engine room back when I was sailing 2nd A/E. For me it had nothing to do with political correctness. I just didn’t have the stomach for it coming on watch all bleary eyed (or hung over on occasion) at 4 o’clock in the morning.

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Driving through the Austin Tx area yesterday. I saw a billboard for the Paleface Ranch. Being that I’m half kraut and half redskin, I was wondering if I’m supposed to be offended…


We could all use unity in diversity, and diversity in unity

I think it can make people feel awkward. Before people get to know me, they often use different language when I’m there than what they normally would. I have to find ways to break the ice. Talking to other women they have the same experience. People’s perception that they have to be gender inclusive with their language or extra polite or whatever can be a barrier to feeling like we are part of the team. I always feel better when everyone starts to relax and be normal around me. Adult language, humour and swimsuit calendars are normal. I don’t really like watching my ps and qs either. Being respectful isn’t the same thing as being polite, and having fun is important. People do get offended, but its better for everyone to accidentally cause offense or become offended every once in a while and apologize than it is to walk around on eggshells.


I remember receiving a message from head office after an incident where a shoreside female lost her Way to the cargo Control room and ended up in the ECR alongside in Los Angeles in a sister ship. We had to confirm when any non PC calendars had been removed.
I reported that the ECR now exhibited one of the finest exhibits of floral clocks and bucolic country scenes afloat.

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The problem is that nowadays all it takes is that one person from a protected class (a term I learned in the leadership and management class) to be “offended” and raise this Injustice to the higher ups and it’s game over for those of us not in a protected class. Eggshell cuts on my soles are a small price to pay to keep my job.

Whats the difference between being politically correct & being well rounded?

I admit, from the time I was 18 yrs to 29 yrs old I was not well rounded. I spent most my days & nights with other roughneck sailors working & the other part of the year partying on my off time. I don’t think many people would have considered me politically correct during those years.

Afterwards I got married & had kids, I started going to birthday parties, mass, pre-school & elementary school twice a day, teacher-parent meetings, fundraisers, visiting my wife’s work etc… When I started being around normal peopIe 6 months of the year I stopped using vulgarity, drinking to excess & became what many would considered to be a normal guy. I think that is the problem with mariners who aren’t politically correct, they just aren’t in the habit of being normal & dealing with others on a normal basis. If they just mimicked what land people do they wouldn’t have to worry about being politically correct.


That is the perception. Its bad everyone’s moral when we are afraid for our jobs like that. I don’t think that causing offence can make someone loose their job, unless HR has gone completely crazy. Harassment can, but that’s not the same thing, and it usually doesn’t, or usually shoudln’t.

I’m taking the leadership class now, too, and this hasn’t been our focus at all. We’re focused on accidents, attitudes, and resolving conflict. Its cheesy, but it turns out I did have some ‘bright ideas’ about resolving conflict that are just not gonna work. Causing offence and taking offence is so low on the scale of conflicts that need to be resolved that I think most adults should be able to work it out between each other in a few seconds. Even most harassment should be able to be worked out between the two involved, at least the attempt should be made as a first step.

No way, man. We are better at dealing with people than land people. HR may not understand that, but we have different people skills than people who can leave their work everyday. Its not about cussing spending a lot of time with ‘the boys.’ Its about the subtle ways we take care of each other, including when we butt heads.


That’s the reality. In your reply, you wrote a lot about what ‘should’ happen, and ‘if HR isn’t crazy’, and what ‘adults should do/should be able to work out on their own’ and I agree with every word of it. But like I said, all it takes is one…one person from a protected class that is butthurt for whatever reason to CLAIM (not necessarily be able to prove) that they were done wrong and the reason for that wrong was because of whatever makes them a member of a protected class. At that point, the burden of proof is on the accused to prove his innocence (as opposed to the accuser being tasked with proving guilt). Otherwise that would be ‘victim blaming’. No thanks. New protected class crew member? Bring out the eggshells.

That’s kind of the point of this thread. In the past, mimicking ‘land people’ was neither required nor desired. Now it seems as it is and that has definitely changed the industry.

That combined with the massive left-ward shift in what constitutes a ‘normal person’ nowadays is a double whammy.

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Its rare that a situation would come about that would require someone who feels wronged to talk to shore-side about it. In my company the complaints procedure is very clear and strict: work your way up. You have a problem: work it out with the other person; that doesn’t work: talk to you chief; your chief is the problem: talk to your captain; if that doesn’t work: get help from outside. If you make a false accusation, you’re butt is on the line for it. I don’t know what ‘protected class,’ is or what it has to do with this. Its not that cis-women and trans people and non-whites and non-christians and what-ever get a pass on bad behavior, including false claims.

It can’t be a trial: he did wrong, he is a victim, lets have a firing squad. It has to be how do we fix it and carry-on. The lower down the management structure the cure is found, the more effective it is.

Your reality is clearly not like that. I think lots of straight white men feel the same way that you do. Its wrong, and its bad for everyone, not just them. HR is screwing us all if they make this our reality.


I have gay, female, black, Hispanic, Philippino, old & fat coworkers & I don’t feel like I’m walking on eggshells. My crassness has been beaten flat. It’s not that hard for some & near impossible for others. But it’s fun working with those unfortunate souls who have to go on every day biting there tongues, they usually have funny things to say & make observations that others don’t notice. From my experience, IMO, 99.9% of the gays, females, blacks, Hispanics, old, fat etc. mariners just don’t want to be called late for crew change when its time to go home. They’re fine with everything else. There’s not many political activists aboard ship IMO, and that .1% that have a chip on their shoulders are easily identifiable with-in a couple of minutes after talking with them. When anyone starts off the relationship with the " if you show me respect, I’ll show you respect" speech you better watch out & be on your p’s & q’s.


Love that line. You could look at it that you are just a normal mature person meeting his own needs as well as others. See Maslow. See you’re talking about up there at social belonging, esteem and self-actualization. You grew as a person. As when you said:

You viewed it as growing up and others view it as walking on eggshells.

What is the opposite of politically correct anyway? I mean in terms of goals and aspirations. They want to harass and bully people? They favor a hostile work environment? They never want to make accommodation for disabled persons (careful with that one - we all could become disabled in a single second).

I suspect NOT. But there seems to be some process at work whereby a single instance of an individual gaming the systems and protections that have become the law of the land in our lifetimes, is grounds for repudiation of those protections for all.

Is it as simple as poor ship management / ownership that can’t properly evaluate false claims and discipline idiots on both sides of this PC line? Setting up the fear/anger routine in the crew? Is it some people can’t getting over a tribal sort of thinking? As in " a fat, old, bald, white guy got fired for making life miserable for seaman Shmeadly and I’m a fat, old, bald white guy and they might be coming for me next"?

Who knows. Who cares at this point. I must be working for one of the exceptions to the rule but I haven’t experienced “protected classes” running wild against the what, unprotected?

Anyway as to the point of the OP, I must just be lucky because I don’t think having formal grievance processes and crewing/HR departments with a minimum of at least 1/2 a brain has changed my sailing life. You were probably given good advise to develop a “thicker skin” so I’d ask you looking back on your 17 years, do you think you did? Because I can’t figure out if “easily offended” people are what is bothering you or “it’s not my job”, tattle tale types are what is bothering you? Because to me they are not the same thing. And also I would draw a distinction between easily offended and legitimately offended.

However, if I’m honest, getting a high decibel, in your face, royal reaming from a 50 plus year old BMO 1st AE as a cadet probably had the desired affect. And not sure I’d really would have wanted it any other way for me. But that was 45 years ago. Yet I’m sure I also thought to myself I’ll never do that to anyone. I think you can be stern without being a bully and I think you can correct or discipline or talk to a “member of a protected class” which is to say anyone in your crew - without being an asshole, can’t you? Possibly not because if the “unprotected” had been treating the “protected” right all along things would have never ended up like this.

I wish we could banish the term politically correct from everyday usage. I really don’t know what it means anymore that it has become a cheap tag line for “news” presenters and commentators to whip up sentiment at the latest report of abuse of a legitimate protection.