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Is political correctness necessary?

The positive side of political correctness

Holly Wolff, Journalist

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“Tolerance, not in the sense of putting up with, but attempting to understand others’ perspectives, is a basic human right. It is a characteristic of our country, which was founded on many diverse perspectives – this is the core of our democracy. Treat others how you want to be treated, and abide by the equal rights that our ancestors fought for, and the rights we’re still fighting for today. Political correctness is a necessity.” – Kenna Rohe (Sartell Highschool Student)

Being against political correctness is an excuse just to say offensive things or to lie out loud.”

— Barack Obama


Many disagree with the idea of political correctness and think it’s unnecessary. In an interview with Face the Nation, the U.S. president, Donald Trump, was quoted saying that he “would be more politically correct, but it takes too much time.” To me, and to many, that is just like saying that it takes too much time to be nice or that it takes too much time to be a decent human being.

Political correctness may be retired when kindness, acceptance, and respect becomes common enough that it is no longer essential. CBC news states in an article written on March 30, 2016, “But what does that (being against political correctness) mean? Does it mean speaking your mind? Talking plainly? The ‘freedom to offend?’ Or is it, as U.S. President Barrack Obama said, ‘an excuse just to say offensive things or to lie out loud’?”

It is important for human beings to agree on a baseline of common courtesy. Political correctness merely asserts that all people, regardless of age, ability, race, gender, sex, class, etc., should be treated with dignity and respect.

Political correctness does not hinder free speech; it simply encourages civil communication. If someone objects to political correctness, it is generally because they hold racist, classist, ableist, or otherwise bigoted opinions. Political correctness attempts to balance the playing field so that the targets of those bigoted opinions have a chance to be heard as well.

Freedom of speech goes both ways: if we have the right to speak our minds in ways that may be considered harsh or insensitive, we also have the right to correct and try to educate those who use speech that could be construed as offensive. Understandably, constant correcting of one’s choice of language, which is the form political correctness often takes, can be irritating, but if one is given guidance about how to be more sensitive, it should not be blown off.

It is important to put oneself in the shoes of the person who might be offended and try to view the language in question from that perspective. The thing about political correctness is that it can be very beneficial for society. It encourages polite discussion that does not involve rude remarks about sensitive topics. Political correctness is avoiding forms of expression that may be perceived as in insult to different authentic groups of people.

Being politically correct does not mean withholding your opinion. It means expressing your opinion in a way that does not oppress or marginalize a specific person or group. 

 

 

For more information visit the links below

Donald Trump on Political Correctness: It Takes Too Long.” Youtube, Face the Nation, 3 Jan. 2016.

News, CBC. “Why the Backlash against Political Correctness?” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 30 Mar. 2016.

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Is political correctness necessary?