I wish I had a quid for every time I’ve heard these types of arguments: “I’m not a racist, I just don’t like political correctness… “; “It’s a free country I should be able to say what I want…”; “People shouldn’t be so sensitive…” and (my personal favourite) “well, it’s just political correctness gone mad.”
I never questioned these kinds of statements until very recently. After all, I value free speech as much as the next democracy and freedom-loving individual. And yes, it can be confusing trying to keep up with political sensitivities.
If political correctness means choosing your language with heart and compassion, then sign me up to the PC brigade
But then I started thinking more deeply about it. I mean, what is political correctness? It’s not some arbitrary set of rules enforced by the so-called PC brigade just to confuse and upset people (although it’s so commonly referred to in the pejorative sense that you’d be forgiven for believing that).
Political correctness, in my humble opinion, isn’t a negative concept at all – in fact, it’s a sign of society actively seeking to rid itself of terms that have previously been loaded with discrimination against a minority group. It’s people trying to be culturally and politically aware with the language they use and seeking to avoid hurt or harm to other human beings. I actually think political correctness is a pretty wonderful thing – it makes us address the reasons that a minority group might take offence to something, to understand the complexities of our own and society’s prejudices.
So that’s my little thought of the day on political correctness. If we live in a PC gone mad world, then it’s one I’m happy to inhabit – because it means we live in a world where we care whether or not we hurt someone’s feelings.
And, as always, I’m happy to stir up a little debate! Leave your thoughts in the comment box below!