It’s political correctness gone mad

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.

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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! 

2 Comments on It’s political correctness gone mad

  1. Lizzi
    June 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm (3 years ago)

    Political correctness IS a negative thing if your 9 year old child worries that describing a black person as having brown skin will see him branded a racist. THAT is political correctness gone wrong – where we are frightened to acknowledge our differences in appearance for fear of castigation.

    Reply
    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      June 19, 2014 at 6:51 pm (3 years ago)

      1. That’s not an example of political correctness, I don’t know anybody who would find the factual observation that their skin is brown in colour to be a racial slur unless it was said in a pejorative or derogatory way 2. Even if it was an example of political correctness, that’s kind of reducto ad absurdum… I’m not really pitching this at nine year olds, I think that most rational adults would forgive an unintentional and innocent racial slur on the part of a child who doesn’t know better 3. It’s about self definition. If there are words that racial or cultural groups find offensive, then don’t use them. The same way you wouldn’t go around swearing at everyone without considering the consequences. Like I said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging people’s differences, nor is it inherently insensitive to do so. Nobody’s saying that. But as always I’m happy to disagree, everyone’s allowed their world view! :)

      Reply

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