Friday, September 23, 2011

"Too Politically Correct"

I'm not a fan of the term politically correct or even the concept of political correctness as it relates to everyday use of language. Don't get me wrong, I do think people should play nice with each other and have consideration for the words we use, what they mean and how they impact others. That's just common courtesy. Isn't it?
Besides, Politically Correct or Incorrect is an odd way to describe it. Unless you're talking about politics, why is it even called "politically" correct? Don't we have enough politics in our daily conversation? It seems to me like we could do without throwing it into every conversation, couldn't we? I think the folks who started this whole movement need to take a vacation and relax. PUT DOWN THE COFFEE! 
Isn't it up to each individual to decide how they speak? I think it is the right of everyone to be able to say whatever they would like to say (as long as it is legal and doesn't endanger others). Everyone has the right to sound as dumb or rude as they would like. You have the right to be a buffoon. I don't think it's American to take that right away. Governing words, even in an informal matter is just too heavy.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Political Correctness is:
adj. Abbr. PC1. Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.

The Collins English Dictionary defines it this way:
politically correct: demonstrating progressive ideals, esp by avoiding vocabulary that is considered offensive, discriminatory, or judgmental, esp concerning race and gender 

      I guess that explains the "Political" part. But, there are more than a couple of problems with this. First, who is it that decides what is politically correct and what isn't? How do these people achieve this standing in society to dictate what may be unacceptable and what isn't? And now, isn't everyone with a mouth, that can utter a noise, suddenly on guard. That sure is a rotten way to live.
Surely this arbitrary power given to people to decide what is "correct" to say and what is not, creates an angst and a social discomfort in people. Too many decent well-meaning people get caught unaware of the days "proper" way of saying things by the PC Police. Often what is "okay" to say today, may not be tomorrow. No one sends out a memo, there's no facebook post, no tweet, nothing. It might be okay if your mom called you like when she reminds you it's daylight savings time.
       It could go something like this, "Okay honey, don't forget to set your clocks back tonight, and you can no longer use the word's little people, Good Night."

       The concept of politically correct has occasionally gone way overboard to where it attempts to govern everything others say. Often people are vilified who sometimes misspeak out of ignorance. It becomes hard to just have conversations anymore in a time where we always seem ready to pounce on the slightest slip of the tongue to point out to everyone "AHA! You see he is a bigot!" or "See! he's a misogynist!" or "HA! see she hates short people!" Relax PC people, sometimes people are just dumb or don't know better! That doesn't always make them a bigot. Bigot equals ignorant, but ignorant doesn't always equal bigot. BREATHE!
  It's pretty easy to see how there can be a backlash. And with this backlash, you end up with the other problem with PC and that is the concept of "Too PC". I understand if you're a little confused.
"You're too PC" has become the defense these days for anyone who says something that actually is racially or otherwise inappropriate (for example) and gets called out on it. Rather than recognize the inappropriateness of their words, they say "You're just too PC".

"Come on dude, you're just way "Too PC", he didn't mean anything by it when he said towel head."

"Oh... I see, my bad." 

     Well, I don't need the concept of Political Correctness and PC police to know that this guy may be an idiot. In fact, I'm somewhat grateful he didn't censor himself. It's better if I know who these people are. So you see, the flip side problem with "PC" is that it had a baby, a really ugly, rude, obnoxious baby.
Meet "Too PC".
     "Too PC" now has become an all to commonly used weak defense for people who routinely say offensive and often racist things. It's like an offensive person's hall pass. Some in the "Too PC" crowd now have lost their bearings on what actually is inappropriate to say. It's simply a backlash, a reflex. These people are so fed up with "PC", they have just pulled the plug on their language, and previously understood offensive language is flowing freely again.     
      Now having said all that, opposition to you saying something offensive is allowed to exist, and frankly encouraged. The problem here is labeling. Labeling people as PC or Too PC is not wise. The more we label, the more we put people in a box, and unless you broke a law, or you're dead, or your name is David Blaine, you don't belong in a box, no one does.
      I think we have all heard grandma or grandpa or some other family member or family friend who grew up in a time gone by say something way too inappropriate or even offensive (no matter what your ethnicity, I don't care who you are). And our response was initially to cringe, but then move on. 
     "It's okay kids pop pop's been drinking again..." and you move on.
      PC or Too PC are just stupid labels people use so they can just write someone off. And writing people off over a statement or two is simply a bad idea.
     So I propose that we allow people to be people. Allow them to be offended and deal with being offended. Allow them to say dumb things and deal with the consequences of saying dumb things. 


Anonymous Rick said...

Does this apply to politicians who use the phrase tar baby? Or should they continue to be tarred and feathered?

October 1, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

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