What do you honestly think of political correctness?

I’m interested in what people think, because I just think it’s becoming an overplayed excuse for things..

Answer #1

I think the whole purpose of the phrase “political correctness” is to tag certain ideas as politically INcorrect and to marginalize them in public discourse. And how slippery! Criticizing someone else’s view for being “politically correct” (meaning “wrong and bad”) is a way to try to impose your own contrary view as the truly politically correct (good and right) one.

Answer #2

i can honestly say…this answer confused the heck out of me! lol :S

Answer #3

Lol, right, sorry Emma! See, I think that’s how it’s supposed to work, by confusing things. I mean, calling something “correct” in order to put it down - that’s weird, isn’t it? When someone calls your opinion “politically correct,” it puts you in a position where, in order to defend it, you have to say, “No, I am NOT correct!” I think it’s just a rhetorical trick, not a legitimate, reasoned criticism.

Answer #4

I think for many people it takes on the air of insincerity they associate with politicians… for good reason. Feels like you’re being pandered to… which makes you question the persons real agenda.

I believe it is counterproductive. It inhibits real discourse that may actually help to get at the root causes of the xenophobia political correctness attempts to bandage over. I’m reminded of Harrison Bergeron’s dystopia and how good intentions… when left to a bureaucracy of self important dunces… can cause more problems than they solve.

Answer #5

I think the term “politically correct” came about as a result of people who could not adjust with the changing views of society. And now it is used as a pejorative to label certain groups as being overly sensitive. Some people think that is is wrong for certain groups to claim that specific words or depictions of that group are offensive, simply because it was OK in the past. They actually think that they can decide what is offensive to someone else. When African Americans no longer wanted to be called negros or colored, were they wrong? There are actually white people who claim that is wrong that they can’t use the N-word, when many African Americans use it themselves. My only answer to that is, why would you want to use it?

Political correctness is nothing but a reflection current mores in our society. There have always been people who push back against change. It just has a new name…

Answer #6

Political correctness is a misnomer since it really has nothing to do with politics. Social correctness is more accurate. Why is it wrong for a group to be offended by certain names, phrases or stereotypes? How is that marginalizing public discourse. If someone keeps using a term that offends someone, why is it wrong to speak out against it?

Answer #7

I think you are way over analyzing it. It is merely society setting its own rules. I think not letting someone know they are being offensive is far more counterproductive than letting them know. The discourse generally only happens when those using offensive language do not want to stop using it.

Answer #8

I think being politically correct will often only make a change in words. It can be very important in written language, where words are the only way to express your feelings but when you speak it really depends on tone and mimic whether what you say is good or bad. Using politically correct words while still meaning to be mean is hypocrisy. And I can’t stand hypocrites.

In former times, it was totally acceptable to call a person who has a permanent injury on the leg a “cripple”. Some people used the word “cripple” for sneering at people though. Some day, someone came along ans said that this is insulting and insisted on calling such people “disabled”. Yet you can call someone “disabled” with a sneer and you can say “disabled” with sympathy. I think that some day, folks will hear someone say “disabled” with a sneer. And then they’ll decide that the word “disabled” is insulting and invent some other euphemism.

Which will eventually lead to one euphemism hunting the next.

I think that we should just call all groups of people the way that they refer to themselves. And that no group of people should overreact at a name they don’t like. At least if the person who said it did not intend to insult anyone. They should just say “we use the word XYZ to name our group”.

People also need to be more aware that it is wrong to use a group identifier to rant about a certain person who is a member of that group.

For example in my country there is a certain politician who I really don’t like. I neither like him, nor his views nor his party. He happens to be gay. But if I say bad things about the minister of foreign affairs of my state (which I often do in political discussions with my friends), I never, ever use any insults that aim at his homosexuality. I can’t blame gay ppl about that this f§&%# politician is one of them.

What I really don’t like about political correctness sometimes is that it will sometimes lead to elaborately complicated, bulky word constructions. I refuse to use those. I will not call anyone a “person with a special level of ability” nor will a call anyone a “maximally pigmented person” or a “person with a migration background”.

Answer #9

I disagaree about the social vs. political boundary, but that’s a different topic. But Jimahl, you have stood my comment completely on its head. Did I say it’s wrong for a group to be offended? No. I implied, rather, that it’s wrong to sneer at that group (as Astrid so felicitously put it) for being offended - which is what you are also arguing. That sneering is what marginalizes and stigmatizes, generally without offering any substantive critique. But, as I suggested before, your confusion is no accident. It’s built into the term, part of its rhetorical strategy.

Answer #10

Astrid, my first thought when I saw Emma’s question was to wonder whether it was inspired by our brief exchange earlier that same day, if I remember right, in which you referred to one of my comments in another thread (actually, to many of my comments, but only specifying that one) as “politically correct.” Did you mean, as you seem to suggest here, that you think I often use “inoffensive” words to cover up an intention to be cruel? (I’m just asking; not accusing.)

Answer #11

Jimahl and Miscegenymiser, I love the contrast between your two avatars {;^P

Answer #12

Hayyim, you are right, I completely misread your post. Mea culpa, mea culpa…

Answer #13

{kiss and make up} {;^P

Answer #14

Well he is a little more cerebral than I tend to be….

Answer #15

ah….your answer makes more sense now!

Answer #16

Oh good, I’m glad the discussion helped clarify it. Dialog works! (sometimes) {;^)

Answer #17

….And cue Jimahl… no offense but I knew you would be all over this… lol. I see it more as being set for society by mainstream media and Political Action Committees. I think as Rotten sheep of evil spelt out… words themselves don’t really connote intention as identifiers. Intention should be determined in the message taken as a whole. Sometimes we infer an intention based on the inclusion or exclusion of politically correct terms. Like I said… I sometimes feel it can come across as patronizing… though not in every case. As you suggest… I may be over analyzing at times. Other times I have felt that a level deeper… I am being patronized to by a message that omits accepted politically correct terms…. but I always suspect motive. The real problem… though… is when taken to extremes… it confuses the matter. For example… I have heard people of Dravidian extract who have never set foot in the U.S. referred to as “African-American” though they are neither. Simply calling someone “black” doesn’t distinguish their ethnic background… but it doesn’t confer a false one upon them either. Last year I recall the effort for Rhode Island to change its official name… “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” to omit the plantation portion. This based on the connotations that plantations had with slavery in parts of America. In Rhode Island’s case… the name was given before plantations took on their more ominous tone and meant to describe what a plantation really is… an agrarian settlement. So instead of distinguishing the difference between slavery and plantation… we will officially resign a perfectly innocent word to the trash heaps of western guilt along with those lobotomized portions of our politically correct brains.

Answer #18

@Hayyim: Unlike Mr. Met… I always find Jimahl game for a nice squabble.

Answer #19

miscegenymiser, glad i didn’t disappoint you. I would need to see some specific examples before I would buy into the idea that “political correctness” is being defined by the media or PACs. Of course words alone are not the problem, it is their intent that is. If I am discussing how bad the use of the N-word is, and I actually use it to show an example, my intent is not to be racist. In fact it is the opposite. And anything taken to extremes is never good, no matter what the intent. But that is not what I am talking about. I don’t see the point behind your Dravidian example. That has nothing to do with political correctness. It is just about being incorrect when describing a person or persons. Like calling an Japanese person Chinese. And most blacks do not have a problem being called black. At least none that I know. But they do have a problem being called colored. Do you know for a fact that the purpose of the Rhode Island name change was because of the connotation “plantation” has? Maybe they just wanted to simplify it. Even if it was because of the connotation, what is so bad about that? There are many terms that had relatively benign origins but later became known for something entirely different. Western guilt? I love that term. Is the west not guilty of anything? Ask African Americans. Ask Native Americans. Ask Japanese Americans. As I said, I think “political correctness” is used more as a pejorative than anything else.

Answer #20

Are you dissing my METS!!!! I know so far this year they suck. Or should I say, athletically challenged?

You must be a Yankee fan…. lol

Answer #21

You’re asking for pinpoint proof as to where words and usages enter and exit our lexicon now?… that’s a tall order Jimahl… and I’m going to push you to hold that same standard regarding all your news sources. You got me… I can’t establish an exact chain of custody in this case… we’ll just have to disagree… unless of course you can definitively prove otherwise. The problems are just as I stated and I do believe the Dravidian case makes my point. The person who erroneously labeled them as African-American did so because of the pressure felt not to insult the “black” individual… or “black” individuals who may be sensitive to the name. I agree… most don’t care. Yeah… the expressed purpose of amending the name was to disavow slavery connotations according to the bills sponsor… Rep. Joseph Almeida. http://funadvice.com/r/1533ftru4r0 What is wrong with it? It misses the point. It is window dressing for the real issues. Does a name change actually change anything? No… it confuses the issue. If history is a framework on which to build the future… it is important to get the facts straight. Western guilt? I love that term. Is the west not guilty of anything? Ask African Americans. Ask Native Americans. Ask Japanese Americans You’re putting words in my mouth… my point put simply is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Answer #22

I don’t watch a lot of MLB… I used to be a Reds fan… but have sort of been estranged lately. I like the Mets… not so much the Yankees… feels like they buy championships.

Answer #23


Answer #24

“I like the Mets… not so much the Yankees… feels like they buy championships.”

Ahhh… A socialist at heart…. I knew I liked you…. Can’t answer the rest tonight, had a little too much wine… But I will answer… See you tomorrow…

Answer #25

Hi, I think that some people use inoffensive words that way, yes. Much the same way that some people are also overly friendly when they actually despise someone. Other people really mean to be good guys and use the politically correct speech to make sure they are perceived that way. My problem is, that in written language I can sometimes not see the difference. While in spoken words, it gets crystal clear by mimic and tone.

I think that you are actually on the side of “politically correct” people who really mean what they say.

Answer #26

Yet I sometimes have a hard time understanding your answers correctly. That may be a cultural thing though. You do have a way of writing really friendly and courteously. And I get the impression that you always seem to search for answers that are morally irreproachable. Sometimes to the point where I think you exaggerate being good. With most people I talk to, exaggerated friendliness indicates sarcasm though. But I don’t think that you have ever been sarcastic in any of your good-guy posts. I believe that you really are trying to be the good guy. You confuse me sometimes. I like confusion. :-)

Answer #27

Hmmm…. I always assumed all of your responses were written while under the influence…

Answer #28


Answer #29

OK, finally have a minute to respond now that I am sober… Just kidding. I am not really asking you to provide pinpoint proof, but a couple of examples would be nice. I think this falls under the point I made previously. We all have filters, and your filters might interpret certain reports as being overtly PC, while to others it might not. Do some people go to far, and use certain expressions incorrectly, as your for fear of using a term that would be offensive? Absolutely. I really don’t see the harm of something as benign as removing plantation from RI the state name, nor do I see it as confusing the issue at all. I think it might be unnecessary, but it certainly does no harm. If the people of Rhode Island don’t want the word plantation associated with it, regardless of its origins, that is up to them. It is not the origins of the word that matter, it is what it means today. We have had the discussion about the term “redneck” before, and you took objection to its use because the original term did not refer to racists. But it does now, and that is all that matters to people now. Is that wrong? Maybe, but it is what it is. I certainly do not see any evidence of this PC etiquette being directed by or even promoted by the media or PACs. Now where is that bottle of wine….

Answer #30

So when you said my politically correct comments were scaring you, you meant because I’m sincere in being friendly, courteous, and inoffensive, and because I give morally sound answers to questions? Wow, you make me sound so scary! :P

Answer #31

Political correctness is the idea that when speaking officially people should use terms that are not offensive to the group they refer to. When I worked for a university one of my responsibilities was as a spokesman for my department. When I spoke on their behalf there were standards I was expected to follow. When I spoke as myself I enjoyed the same free speech rights as anyone else but when I spoke for them I had to follow their rules. This issue was in the news when a university insisted that a college newspaper be politically correct; the university insisted that the newspaper represented the university therefore had to be politically correct while the paper claimed journalistic and artistic independence. The court decision sided with the newspaper that they were not obligated to be politically correct. Political Correctness has been a cause for conservatives to fight against since many believe that we have gone too far accommodating women and minorities and now discriminate against majorities. They liken political correctness to Orwelian Newspeak were thought police insist that alternative viewpoints can not even be expressed. Political Correctness does become comical at a certain point. For the most part American Indians were not offended by the term Indian. The more “sensitive” term “Indigenous Americans” was offered when it wasn’t really needed. Extrapolating from existing PC terms short people become “altitude challenged” and stupid people become “intellectually different.” Examples like these only exist in the minds of critics but they are still used to marginalize multiculturalism and cultural sensitivity.

Answer #32

As usual, very well put…

Answer #33

I think you mistook our earlier discussions of the word “redneck” It was always a pejorative. Originally it was a slur by the royalists to try and marginalize the Presbyterian Covenanters who opposed the establishment of the Anglican church in Scotland… as it had been in England… which was under the direction of the Monarch… King Charles I. This eventually led to the English Civil war and ultimately led to American revolutionaries and anti-federalists. Royalists and all big government types wished to characterize their opposition as simple… backwards…. xenophobes and anyone who refused to go along with their machinations as a westen caste of untouchables. The talking heads at MSNBC are not without precedent. So…. I understand the rubric taken by those like yourself to maintain the current biased interpretation of the word… but you can see why I am opposed to it.

On the other hand… I am not opposed to its usage… as it is useful in illustrating the hypocrisy of its users in general… those who eschew the use of ethnic slurs only when it is politically expedient to do so. Not out of some phony philanthropic sympathies as is often portrayed.

All in all… I do see a harm in confusing the issue. False premises lead to false conclusions.

I’m not at all suprised that you cannot see any evidence of media or PAC manipulation. I had an alcoholic uncle who eventually went completely blind… though I always thought it to be a defense mechanism due to eons spent forced to look at a naked Aunt Shirley.

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