The Problem of Political Correctness

I’m sure you’ve experienced it: we’re supposed to use ‘African American’ instead of ‘black’. ‘Native American’ instead of ‘Indian’. ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’. We’re supposed to be a gender neutral society because it’s hurtful to assume someone’s gender. It’s okay to degrade Christianity, but it’s not okay to profane to the name of Islam. You’re not allowed to profile any ‘minority’ group. We must fight against ‘white privilege’. It’s okay to burn the American flag, but to complain about illegal immigrants is considered to be offensive. It’s not okay for me to call nonwhites any name (even if benign) based on color or race yet they can call someone like me white trash and falsely accuse me of being in the KKK. We need safe spaces and trigger warnings for those who might not be comfortable with what is being said. The list can go on and on, and quite frankly, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

Of course, liberals will tell you that it’s so that you don’t offend any one or that it’s polite or that you can discuss things nonaggressively. You know what? I say B.S. When people are not politically correct, these people of whom this is said about flare up and become angry, calling you all sorts of phobes or racists. They insist that you use the right term.

Now, like my parents taught me, I know that you should always try to be polite, but whatever happened to having a thick skin? Whatever happened to Jesus’ teaching of offering your other cheek if your first one is smote? FYI, there’s this thing called resilience.

I have several problems with this alarming phenomena of PC. First, I see hypocrisy. To me,   all of these politically correct things are biased against people who are straight, white, and male (I fall into two of those three categories). People in that category are often the ones that get ostracized for making a mistake. I’ve always been of the belief that to promote equality, you must treat everyone equally as opposed to raising one group over their former oppressors. It is not equality–it just creates the opposite. By playing to everyone’s identity, this identity politics divides us rather than unites us…which is dangerous in world full of terror and other malignant things. Sure, diversity is great (particularly, in my opinion, when it comes to solving problems), but it is no good if everyone is completely divided. That is why we must find the balance between diversity and unity. We cannot be so proud of our identities that we forget that we are ultimately part of a whole, and ultimately, this separation and polarization based on identity can divide us so much that we are too pig-headed to talk about issues.

Also, I believe PC can lead to a lot of confusion and unnecessarily long descriptions. Can you really expect people to remember everything that offends each and every group in the world? It’s just not plausible. And though I understand the need to say things like ‘Native American’ instead of ‘Indian’ for clarification (as there are those from the subcontinent and those who are natives of America), many of the other phrases we’re supposed to say seem unnecessary. For example, it would be redundant for me to say that I’m an Irish, German, Norwegian, British, Scottish American instead of just an American. Just ‘American’ is less of a mouthful.

Ultimately, though, this is a breach of our First Amendment rights. We have the freedom of speech, and what use is it if we aren’t able to freely talk…even if it means insulting your opponents? This does not mean that we should deliberately go out and insult people…but it does not mean that we should go out and outlaw certain words, phrases, and actions that offend different people. Somewhere, somehow, there will always be people who will be offended. As stated above, if only more people had thick skin, there would be a lot less misunderstandings.

So what people these days need to learn and remember is that people make mistakes. There are many times that we say things, and we don’t mean to offend people. For that, there’s no reason to get all defensive and angry. It is better to forgive these instances. And if something really bothers you in any case? Just ask nicely. People are more likely to listen to what you want. We may not agree with you, but we will be more likely to sit down and talk.

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