Thursday, March 05, 2009

Political Correctness

It's interesting how a term like "political correctness" can mean completely different things depending on your perspective. For example, political correctness could be the act of caring how another person feels about being called something, or being depicted in what to them is negative light. Political correctness, in this case, is a way thorugh which two people from different cultures can understand where each one's coming from and learn to get along, a pathway to peace, a set of basic manners which in this country, many of us try to be conscious of practicing every day - and because we want to, for those of us who do. I realize this notion is not always acceptable by some people who have other objectives in mind when they use the term political correctness. Those people use the term as a weapon to shut people up.

There is this "accusation of political correctness" to censor people who have any opinions (particularly unpopular ones) for the sake of maintaining the status quo. This anti-PCness can be useful if you're pushing your own political agenda, but it's probably not going to be popular among people who feel it's sometimes more important to rock the boat and speak their mind (takes guts to do - example: people who could say "I'd rather not be called such-and-such because it hurts my feelings") than to fake smile all the way through tea time with one-way-output cult leaders who decide what goes at their elegant little affairs ("Freedom of speech! I'll call you whatever the hell I want at my party"...though they might not say that out loud, lest they seem unruly. Better yet: "You're imagining things!" to invalidate what you said). The term "political correctness" can then be used as a weapon when people with strong opinions speak out, especially if a provocative topic is presented to them. Be careful of taking the bait at such functions. People who use the term in this way don't want opposition to their agenda, so they convince others that being too politically correct makes people distastefully opinionated for an upper social class community. They can say anything to you or about you and if you're a nice person, you're just supposed to take it.

So, it's too PC to speak up for oneself or those without a voice, but not too PC to never have an opinion for the sake of being polite in polite company? This would not go over well among my circle of friends. We're not afraid of the odor of racism, sexism, ageism, feminism, or snobbery and superficiality for that matter. We're not living with rose-colored glasses on. The term political correctness is, in the end, the act of being polite. Having manners is not really about looking like you belong to a social class because it makes you feel special. Having manners is really about caring not just what others think but how they feel, how what we say and do affect them, and it's so simple, anyone could practice it if they genuinely wanted to.


“The pejorative term 'political correctness' was adapted to express disapproval of the enlargement of etiquette to cover all people, in spite of this being a principle to which all Americans claim to subscribe” --Judith S. Marin


“The two pillars of 'political correctness' are:

a) willful ignorance

b) a steadfast refusal to face the truth” --George MacDonald