George Orwell, a well-known British journalist cum author, wrote a book by the name “Nineteen forty-eight” ironically in the year 1948. George talked of a totalitarian society that deprived people of the freedom to discourse their contemplations. The situation brought fear amongst people. The novel argues that the government thought up “newspeak” language as a way to bar citizens from contemplating about parse’ “unacceptable” subjects (Orwell, p.32). The book was a precaution measure against the dangers of totalitarianism. The author warns of the adverse effects of power and ultimate control from the government — the author revolts against oppression. The government monitored human actions. It was against people expressing their thoughts freely. Newspeak discouraged free thinking. The new language featured the use of euphemism to avert the use of outlawed phrases or words. Newspeak omitted many words meaning that you couldn’t identify a word that could be regarded as a crime.
Consequently, the misconduct itself could not be committed. This instance contrasts well with the current occurrences of political correctness. The modern era uses the same approach when addressing ethical values in society.
Political correctness seems ineffective and of no purpose due to many reasons. First and foremost, the phrases meant to censor inappropriate subjects still bases on the “sore” topic. A good example would be calling a deaf person, “an individual with the hearing disorder.” The phrase will still insist on the deafness. The word the phrase poses the same meaning, which is an inability to hear. Referring to someone as “African American” yet that you are not in Africa means you are avoiding using the word “black” or “dark,” which is some sort of racist. You are insinuating that the term is black is offensive, but the reality is you thought of it been abusive. From the mentioned illustrations, political correctness doesn’t substantiate its claims.
Political correctness inadequacy is quite eminent when it is applied to words that are presumed to be offensive. NYC DOE (New York City Department of Education) put out a list of 50 words in 2012, which were supposed to be aggressive (CBS New York). However, one would wonder how words and expressions like religion, dinosaur, homes with swimming pools, and birthday would provoke other people. Surprisingly, if there are authorities who consider the phrase “lay off/sack” as an insult to the labor force than their perception of “retrenchment or hiring,” then it is an insult as well. Based on this rationality, then a good number of the hypothetically offensive words or phrases should be outlawed altogether, which is irrational.
Newspeak restricts conversations and drains language because it doesn’t come out naturally (Ely, p.56). Speakers ought to mind their words in dread of lawsuits or get punished. As a result, the speaker lacks his freedom of expression, thus leading to stress. Stress and an unsettled mind make people less cognizant and more agitated, which can lead to an intentional slur. Individuals are held accountable for their utterances and their reactions. However, they should be mindful of what they say to other people. People shouldn’t assume the retorts and words they are used to. It is more logical to use direct words rather than the politically right words. It would be easier to notice and insult with direct words because it’s unrealistic to employ nice and pleasant words that seem comforting, but they mean the same as the habitual words. Inexorably applying politically correct substituted seems wasted labor become one’s expression is confined in fear of torment or lawsuits.
Political correctness is not natural because it drains the expression of community values and traditions. Anyone in their right frame of mind would concur that it has surpassed the essence common sense. How can we assume that we are comforting people with polite words, but potentially, they can be hurt by the substitute words? The bottom line about the issue of political correctness is baseless and ineffective. The practice still defines and tunes the censored words to the same meaning. That said, correct political substitutes are insulting, as well. For the modern “Newspeak” to actualize its objectives, many of the words had better be outlawed. Since the practice doesn’t suit everyone and spurs agitation and stress and confines people to their circles, yet we are living in a free world that should become a choice for everyone.
- Orwell, George. Nineteen eighty-four. Everyman’s Library, 2009.
- Ely, Robin J., Debra E. Meyerson, and Martin N. Davidson. “Rethinking political correctness.” Harvard Business Review 84.9 (2006): 78.