Reflection On Political Correctness: Opinion Essay
Let me ask you this, do the majority of people look up to Donald Trump, the president of the United States? Do people respect and agree with what he posts on his Twitter account? How many people get offended by him everyday? In today’s world, more and more people are becoming sensitive towards topics that are difficult, such as issues with race, gender, suicide, mental health, and many more. This is why “Political Correctness” is necessary. First off, I would like to define what Political Correctness means to me, since after all, it is a very ambiguous topic. Political Correctness is a component of language in the modern era that is used to prevent being offensive towards others, especially people in oppressed groups. This is what Political Correctness means to me. It is not a way of censorship and neither is it a way of hindering the truth. Political Correctness is a positive evolution and expansion in the English language because first, Political Correctness prevents the repetition of offensive words to do with race, gender, mental health, suicide, etc. It prevents the normalization of jokes/words that are offensive and helps smooth social interactions and improve respect for minorities in society, and second, it protects marginalized people from abuse and language inciting hate crime. Is political correctness really as unnecessary as you think?
Firstly, I would like to elaborate on how Political Correctness prevents the repetition of offensive words to do with race, gender, mental health, suicide, etc. and why it’s necessary. By the use of political correctness, it is harder for people to express topics that are sensitive because it creates boundaries in language. The psychology of repetition is a very important aspect in the matter of the spread of non-PC language which later plants opinions and ideas in one’s head. Repetition is a known technique of persuasion. I’m sure you’ve heard it in your English class, debate class, and yes, it is very real and very effective. In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman touches on the behavioral psychology research about repetition: “Anything that makes it easier for the associative machine [aka, your brain] to run smoothly will also bias beliefs. A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.” According to this researcher, the human brain does not easily distinguish familiarity from the truth because the human brain is simply lazy. This is also called the ‘Mere Exposure Effect’. People tend to develop preferences merely because they are familiar with them. This clearly relates back to the necessity of Political correctness. Political correctness limits people from saying things that are inappropriate. Without political correctness, society would be able to say whatever they want to say about whatever topic. The increased frequency of the repetition of the topic brought up, the more people hear about it. The more people hear about it, the more repetition it is. The more repetition, the more normal it sounds. The more normal it sounds, the more people think it’s okay to talk about certain inappropriate topics with such and such offensive words. Let’s take an example. Again, Donald Trump. Have you ever noticed that Donald Trump is very keen in repeating what he says. For example, Trump sometimes ends his statements by saying, ‘It’s true. It’s true.’ ////////
Although many people characterize political correctness as censorship, it is in fact, like I already said earlier, the opposite of censorship because it enables people especially in oppressed groups to speak their mind without being attacked. Oppressed groups have enough difficulty in trying to discuss difficult topics and being politically incorrect could hinder opportunities for these discussions to reach its potential or to even happen at all. For example, a mindset that black people are inferior will discredit ideas by African Americans, and the mindset that women act based on emotion rather than logic, unlike men, discredits the ideas of women in a discussion or debate. By using PC, people cannot discredit one’s idea but listen to it. Let’s take Kiah Morris’s case as an example. Kiah Morris was the only African American woman in the Vermont legislature but was forced to quit after 2 years of abuse. According to BBC, “the state’s attorney general agreed that the former Democratic representative had been subjected to racial and gender harassment, but he ruled against criminal charges, citing free speech.” Just because racist speech is considered free speech, this woman, Kiah Morris did not receive any help. The use of political correctness can help people in oppressed groups like Kiah Morris. It is not fair that she had to quit her bid for re-election midway through her campaign just because she was being attacked for being a black woman in politics. In a situation like this, political correctness would enable Kiah Morris to have free speech, instead of being silenced. Political correctness can protect marginalized people from abuse and language inciting hate crime. Preventing hate speech may also reduce racism over time and lead to greater equality.
Next, I would like to give a response to what the opposing side believes. Non-PC advocates believe that Political correctness hinders facts and is based on personal feelings, or in other words, political correctness censors the facts by using alternative imprecise words just because the “truthful” words may be non-PC and offend people. I would like to say that almost all strong opinions and moral values are based on personal experience and therefore, there is always an emotional reaction to certain situations and words. Separating “fact” from “emotion” is nearly impossible. The solution cannot be to deny any emotional component to one’s view, but to acknowledge and address it. The non-PC advocates claim personal feelings should not matter in a debate and should not be taken into consideration, as it censors the truth, although their claims of being “hindered” and “censored” are also a result of their personal feelings being hurt. It is impossible really, to face facts without any interference of personal feelings. Therefore, this is not a valid claim.
In conclusion, I would like to restate my claim that political correctness is a positive aspect of the evolution in the English language. Political correctness prevents the repetition of inappropriate topics to do with race, gender and other topics which automatically prevents the normalization of jokes and words that are offensive and helps smooth social interactions and improve respect for minorities in society. Political correctness also protects marginalized people from abuse and language inciting hate crime. It enables people especially in oppressed groups to discuss topics that are difficult without being personally attacked. Instead of being a censorship, political correctness simply enables free speech. Isn’t political correctness the way to go?
Doesn’t political correctness rightfully deserve its title as a trend?
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