Tom’s Opinion On Political Correctness
In today’s society it’s easier to walk on eggshells and not break any than say something and be accused of being “Politically Incorrect.” What exactly is political correctness anyway?
My MacBook Pro says the definition is, “…the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”
The 1st Amendment
The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In so many words the United States Constitution gives me the right to say any stupid thing I want about anything or anyone. Nowhere in those historic words is there any indication that the founding fathers (sorry, politically offensive to mothers), were concerned about someone’s speech hurting anyone’s feelings or that the targeting of any particular group was off limits. I think if it was they would have included it. They assumed that some people would be idiots but in the US at least they would be free idiots.
There Are Groups And There Are Groups
For the first time in my lifetime people have to fear what they say, or think, or write or feel. Use the wrong term and you are official labeled by the so-called correct thinking people in our society. You are without question an offensive, insensitive, racist, sexist, homophobic, jerk.
If you are a minority then political correctness is your best friend. Black or Hispanic is good; white is bad. Poor people are all good; rich people are all bad. All religions are good except Christian’s they are bad. Dependency is good; personal responsibility is bad.
- In some schools the children’s nursery rhyme “Baba Black Sheep” has been changed to “Baba Rainbow Sheep” because some people might find it racist. I guess I’m the “rainbow sheep” of my family.
- No more “brainstorming” allowed at school or at work. You might offend epileptics. You have to admit that’s really a stretch.
- So as to not offend anyone those big things in school rooms that teachers write on with chalk (that also comes in a variety of colors) will forever be known as — “chalkboards.” Even the kids think this is stupid.
- Until further notice no one will be allowed to have a “right hand man.” Especially if she’s a woman. “Right Hand Citizen?” See the next point.
- “Citizen” and “Brown Bag” have been declared potentially offensive in Seattle and may no longer be used in any city communications or discussions. What terms are suggested instead? “Lunch & Learn” and “Sack Lunch.” For “citizen” they suggest “resident.”
- Next time you go for a drive in some cities try to avoid the “personal access units” in the street. They used to be called “manholes” — do I really need to explain?
- Chances are you will have no problem finding a job in the UK. Recruiters there are no longer allowed to use terms like “reliable” and “hard-working” because it just might be offensive to unreliable, lazy people.
- A US government booklet published in 2000 warned nursery teachers that playing ‘musical chairs’ encouraged aggressive behavior. So KNOCK IT OFF!!
Some Final Thoughts
The problem with political correctness, and those that try to force it on the rest of us, is the reasoning behind it. It’s not a matter of someone being offended it’s the idea that someone “thinks” someone will be offended.
Does it make any sense on any level that “manhole covers” are somehow offensive to women? Is someone really going to complain about the use of the word “citizen?” The real damage of political correctness is it stifles free expression. If we have to measure every word and thought before expressing ourselves then how many ideas are never brought forth?
The examples I shared above are a little silly and most of us would just blow them off without a second thought. But think about that for a moment. If we ignore some instances but allow others aren’t we part of the problem? As offensive as hate speech is I would rather hear it than suppress all speech or thought.
If I gave political correctness any thought at all I might be fearful of writing this article. I guess I’m just being politically incorrect? Do you have any examples of political correctness gone bad in your life?