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Modern Society Is Politically Correct: Arguments For And Against

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Has society become too politically correct?

What was originally designed to prevent certain groups from being offended has turned into a witch hunt. From the television screens to the playground, we have all seen or heard something which is unambiguously offensive but on the flip side of the same coin terms such as ‘racist’ are flung at every minute contradiction. Even my own friends are guilty of this crime as is everyone else in the nation. Nationally it’s a joke to be sarcastic and is in line with the consensus of British humour but I’d liken political correctness to communism. In theory it sounds good but its execution makes it tyrannical mainly due to its extreme. Join me, as I delve deeper into what political correctness gets wrong and how it counterproductively threatens progress in the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and other minorities.

Racist, sexist and words of the like are so freely thrown around in the modern world even when it’s not relevant, that they seem to have lost their meaning. Once a negative name not to be associated with, it is now a playful pass between friends and I think society being too politically correct has something to do with it. These terms are tossed so freely their once catastrophic bearing and taboo nature as terminology has faded with them now being just valued as labels used by the oversensitive. Like the boy who cried wolf, the constant falsified uses of these words have drained them of their impact and significance.

I’ve mentioned the term political correctness but what does it even mean? Any time an argument is more about politically ‘right’ in the circumstances, as opposed to whatever the facts or the evidence says, would be ‘PC’. A term pioneered by the more accepting millennial generation, in the modern age now the words are used almost solely for progressive ‘political correctness’, generally as a positive totem on the Left, and a stick to bash the Left with by the Right. The OED defines Political Correctness as: ‘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.’ Who could argue with that? Well, loads of people, actually. The possible positive impact it bares to society, learning and business from diversity are credible and noteworthy however that doesn’t mean it should be impossible to question how diversity is brought about, or what is considered to be insulting, marginalising, or discriminatory.

Political correctness is unfortunately often treated as a way of shutting down debate, of acting like you are clearly more intelligent for having the ‘correct’ opinion, or that those who contradict you are attacking you. That doesn’t help persuade anyone who doesn’t share the same views as you but rather it alienates people who might otherwise sympathise and become a supporter. PC is politics, not truth and not law. There is no law enforcing political correctness. No matter how hard some would want you to believe, it’s not considered hate speech to be politically incorrect. Furthermore it’s not an incitement to violence as they would also care for you to believe. Saying words that a listener finds uncomfortable or unpleasant can be very politically incorrect but these words may be factually true, or a reasonable opinion, or even the starting point of a discussion. Declaring that simply hearing certain words or having to walk past a statue is actual violence, is absurd. What’s to stop everyone else attempting to ban things they don’t like? Pretending that we can restrict the right to take offence to oppressed minorities only, is politically delusional. Declaring that certain people don’t get to speak about a topic, white men for example, doesn’t make your point of view appealing to them. Nevertheless I’m not saying that since we have free speech we can say what we want. No not at all, common decency and respect among all peopel should be standard. What I’m trying to convey is that we can’t dismiss each other’s opinions and should openly discuss our maybe heavily differing views so to reach a compromised peace.

If you want to persuade someone that you are correct, you have to actually engage with them and not just blurt insults at them. Declaring them ‘racist’ or ‘islamophobic’ or worse may make you feel better, but it doesn’t help you win the argument, and it won’t help change their mind. However some would argue that in fact these sorts of people who are called out, feel political correctness is a negative only due to the lack of it in the past and so by the drastic progress made in the last few years, they are finally being called out on their discriminatory views. Honestly i agree with this since as an ethnic minority myself I know how hard it can be to live in a predominantly white country. I understand the unnatural amount of hate some people can have over the dumbest things but we can’t change their minds and create a world of love and equality if we don’t kill these weeds, we need to change their thought process no matter how disgusting and change them to see the path towards a life without global issues. They need to have this opportunity to voice their unadulterated opinion so we can assassinate it based on its prejudices or in the rare chance maybe even agree with a controversial yet factually sound outlook. Civil rights at one point in time would have been seen as politically incorrect or it would have be politically incorrect 50 years ago to think homosexuality wasn’t wrong, but thanks to people speaking the unfiltered truth about these controversial truths we wouldn’t have been able to make the advancements we have done as a society. No matter how low the chance we also can’t allow for PC to silence brilliant people who may bring about great change. We may never be able to understand each other fully but that doesn’t anyone can be dismissed out of hand.

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People are entitled to an opinion, even the ‘wrong’ one, if it comes under their right to free speech, not a hate crime, and it’s very true that in the world there are some hateful people who will say or do things we don’t particularly like or agree with but even if we don’t like it, you nor I have the right to silence them. We only have the capability to change their minds through debate and discussion.

A fallback for political correctness supporters is to claim that: what it basically comes down to is political correctness means being a pleasant person. They would claim that political correctness is nothing more than treating others with respect. In some regard I can respect this idea they promote. When done correctly to the point in which discussion isn’t strangled by PC, it serves as a pivotal tool to respect the poor victims of life’s hardships, but isn’t this just having good manners? This argument would be the same as me saying to not be a hateful trash bag of a person. It isn’t a particularly fancy or new thing to know that we should respect and be nice to each other, that is an obvious concept to us and it is one of the earliest things we are taught, so doesn’t that kind of make the point of PC a bit redundant then? Is it just dressing up good manners with a political agenda? No, if PC was to be used in the right instances and only used for the genuine problems in the world then it wouldn’t appear to be so meaningless. Instead it would be a sacred tool to minimise the trauma survivors feel from their experiences and in fact help them to open up about it. However this is only possible if we as a society learned to use the right moderation of PC so we can meet each other half way.

So is being politically correct just being nice?

Being nice is not using hurtful words. It’s letting people speak, especially those who may not usually be heard. Being nice is not silencing people’s opinion. It is not telling people that they should shut up. It is not assuming the worst about people’s background or motives. Being nice is never sending anyone abuse for any reason, even if they disagree with you, even if you think they are very wrong. PC is used in relation to politics and social issues but down to its bare bones, it is ideologically the same due to being nice being such a vague catch-all term. The issue I’m attempting to raise is how when PC is too prevelant in some parts of the world, it can’t fully serve its purpose of advancement and may only hinder it by causing vital voices in discussions to be muted as a result of its unfiltered heartfelt nature.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: ‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’Nothing is ever black and white, so by offering an alternate view that maybe heavily opposing or discriminatory, discussion and debate should be initiated so that views can be changed or understood, they shouldn’t be seen as an attack or insult. Society as a whole shouldn’t shy away from sensitive topics in fear of being politically incorrect. With PC in its purest form, we can effectively gain more rights for these minorities as we can learn to persuade the masses and not just try overpowering them. Personally I think helping the minorities to gain rights is more important than just being nice to them. PC has skewed the minds of society so much so that in order to stroke their own egos, the privileged who don’t want to actually do something about the grotesque grimace in the world, have an out to their own incompetence by waging crusades on people courageous enough to play devil’s advocate and discuss the key issues plaguing the world or by instead advising others to avoid using the words ‘white’ or ‘black’ since they can have ‘negative implications’. Negative Implications on whom? Which little boy or girl would be heartbroken to learn what they look like? It’s not offensive to describe a person; it’s just facts if it’s said in such safe terms. I and others who are informed would say that by teaching children that talking about things like race and religion is taboo, we vilify their perception on speaking about the big issues and are inevitably creating a future in which people do not talk about their problems as it may be seen as inappropriate. We shouldn’t be promoting such nonsense, we should in reality teach them that these rabid issues in society deserve to be tackled and put down.

How can you fix the current state of political correctness?

Well in reality there aren’t very many things we need to do since a main thing if fixing the problem of PC having gone mad in our society, is to not making it a free speech debate. In the current debate free speech and PC are stationed as enemies, even I’m guilty of doing it in my speech but free speech is a pivotal part of life and our human rights but by making it not directly oppose PC it can be utilised to champion the polices of PC with trigger warnings and safe spaces coming under the cover of free speech. By promoting discussion of how to solve the genuine problems of access, opportunity, safety, and inclusion, we can further progress as the progressives we are. Also in my personal view, in order to reel in the level of PC shown, we must let speakers speak and protestors protest. A discussion must be made and solutions have to be agreed upon. If we are to live in a world where one side doesn’t listen to the other, then how can we help those who need it most?

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Modern Society Is Politically Correct: Arguments For And Against. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 6, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/modern-society-is-politically-correct-arguments-for-and-against/
“Modern Society Is Politically Correct: Arguments For And Against.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/modern-society-is-politically-correct-arguments-for-and-against/
Modern Society Is Politically Correct: Arguments For And Against. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/modern-society-is-politically-correct-arguments-for-and-against/> [Accessed 6 Oct. 2022].
Modern Society Is Politically Correct: Arguments For And Against [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 Oct 6]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/modern-society-is-politically-correct-arguments-for-and-against/
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