In Defense Of Political Correctness
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Politics and Activism

In Defense Of Political Correctness

It's not about feelings, it's about respect.

In Defense Of Political Correctness

The phrase “politically correct” can either be good or bad, depending on who you ask. Many say that the modern world is too easily offended, and denounce political correctness. This has become especially prevalent this month as the Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays debate rears its ugly head once again. To put it simply, if you want to say Merry Christmas, do so. If you prefer to say Happy Holidays to be inclusive of other belief systems, go for it. Neither option should be offending anyone. Are anyone’s rights being infringed upon? No. Before you blame political correctness for ruining your Christmas, take a minute to think about what it really is.

Now that my small holiday rant is over, here’s a definition of “politically correct” from Merriam-Webster: “conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.” I think this definition expresses exactly what political correctness is all about. However, according to NPR, the term has evolved over time, and some have equated it with hypersensitivity. I do agree that people should not make victims of themselves, meaning they should not go around looking for something to be offended by. Yet, if I were to say something and it offended someone, I am not the one who gets to decide whether or not the comment I made was offensive. They get to decide that, and I should probably decide to apologize for my statement.

Political correctness is the reason we don’t use the “R” word to describe individuals with special needs, or anyone for that matter. It is the reason that same-sex couples now have the right to marry, and why we have created much nicer terms to use when referring to LGBTQ individuals. Political correctness is what keeps racial slurs and rape jokes out of our mouths. I understand that when I say “we,” that does not mean everyone. Not everyone gets the PC memos, and it’s your choice whether you do or not. After all, how you speak about others is part of your freedom of speech.

Keep in mind that free speech and opinions can still be hateful. Furthermore, freedom of speech should never intrude upon the rights of others. Put yourself in the shoes of those who are on the receiving end of tasteless comments or stereotypical jokes. Would you like to be spoken about in that manner? It’s the Golden Rule, folks: treat others as you would like to be treated. We take bullying so seriously nowadays because it has resulted in suicides and school shootings. This is not about tiptoeing around feelings, it’s about simply respecting people enough to treat them equally. Even if racial slurs or stereotypical comments are being said behind closed doors, someone inside those doors might get the message that saying those words is acceptable. Those words will find their way into the ears of the public, because there are always going to be those who claim that their free speech is never wrong. Political correctness helps us to fight oppression by changing the way we speak. It may not seem like a big deal, and many times words are harmless. However, we should always be aware that words are catalysts. After all, it has been said before that “the Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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