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Political Correctness is Killing Us-Part Two

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
April 22, 2007

It is as though we believe that political correctness (PC) has always been present; at least one generation of Americans has now “grown up” in a culture awash with PC language and behavior becoming acculturated with the belief that one must never speak or act in a manner that offends another human being. A minimal search on the Internet yields over 1.3 million story possibilities on the topic of PC examples-trust me; we live in a PC world. There are multiple groups who monitor language for purposes of identifying such language. For example, Language Monitor produces annual word and phrase lists for our edification.1

The lists transcend politics, religion, education, business and daily conversation. This is not only specific to the USA the following are other examples:
Finally, I imagine you have all been privy to some or all of these:
midget = vertically challenged gay = different
fired = laid off tall = person of height
homeless = residentially flexible Indian = Native American
poor = financially inept perverted = sexually dysfunctional
blind = visually challenged
6 body odor = non-discretionary fragrance

Enough you say and I gladly join in your refrain. However, I cannot resist sharing one final example. What perhaps began with the best of intentions has now become more often than not somewhat laughable. Just some days ago in Poole Hospital in Dorset, England the staff was 'banned' from serving hot cross buns on Good Friday to avoid offending non-Christians (code for Muslims). Curiously, the hospital management, after some pressure from patients and workers did serve the hot cross buns on Easter Sunday. Of course, the tradition for centuries was to have them served on Good Friday.7 Ridiculous extremism or neurotic actions taken by a few who at best can be called appeasers?

Language is important as it is used to express ideas, thoughts and feelings. What is said and how it is expressed is important. Implicit and complicit with the concept of political correctness is a belief that one’s language can make someone else or others think, feel and act in a particular manner. I refer to this as the “makes-me-believe structure”, the essence of which is that a person’s words are responsible for making another person act, think, and/or feel fine, sad, happy, excited, in control, out of control, troubled, secure, and so many additional other thoughts, feelings and actions. This can be a powerful social and political device when employed in a diligent manner. It says that you are not responsible. As a matter of fact, it tells you that someone or something else is in control. This can lead you to believe that you are not responsible for your reactions to the people, events, and other things in your life. Therefore it is disabling to you. We see the results of a “makes-me-believe structure” every day and everywhere. Daily we hear the following:
This structure works in two directions: if you accept that you can make someone …than you speak and act in a like manner toward that someone. Reverse the direction; you actually believe that someone or something outside of you can make you feel, act and think a certain way. Has it ever happened that you get a flat tire, get out of the car, kick the flat or use some four-letter words to describe your feelings and then blame the tire for causing you to feel angry? The power and control lies outside of yourself and you have entered the world of irresponsible actions, feelings and thoughts.

Here is the danger of such a belief structure: you give the power of control and responsibility to someone or something else. You act consistently in this manner and accept what others say as the truth. Political correctness has become so dominant in our culture due to this makes-me-believe structure. Here is an example: Individuals actually believe that they are responsible for another person’s feelings, thus you cannot say anything that may offend someone. Allow me to suggest that you are not responsible for anyone’s feelings. An individual’s feelings belong to each person and each of us can either own the feelings or blame them on others. Imagine the power one has if you subscribe to the latter point of view! Contrary to popular belief and myth is that a person can control one’s feelings-it is not possible. Go ahead, test this out-right now feel euphoric-do so for 30 seconds-now stop and feel profound sadness. The truth is that we all have feelings-own them and learn to deal with them in a responsible way.

The entire structure of political correctness operates upon a faulty belief system and yet it has become the dominant social and political tool used by groups today.

When someone says something to you, you have a choice as to how you will perceive it, think about it, and respond to it. The PC crowd has taught you to perceive/think/respond in a particular manner and the rest of us have allowed this to occur. I say–no more! The most common refrain I hear and read from Islamists should anyone dare to ask critical questions is that “we are offended/your words are offensive to Islam/you have insulted Islam” are among but a few thrown in our direction. There is a PC expectation that follows the “I am offended” statement. First an apology must be forthcoming, penance must be demonstrated, and finally repentance must be enjoined. Others and I are not responsible for offending Islamists; we are, however, responsible for what we say. Given my intention is to ask critical questions then how these are perceived and the resultant choice by the listener as to how he/she will hear the question the responsibility lies with the listener. The assumption is that the listener is willing to be held accountable for his/her own thoughts, feelings and actions.

Of course the PC groups do not want us to wake up and see through their faulty thinking and/or arrogant behavior. They count upon us to stand down when the “O” word is thrown at us. The result has been a most interesting and dangerous political and social engineering within the western countries. People have become afraid to state their personal values, stand up for these values and take the necessary actions to ensure that our culture we so love remains intact. The final Part Three of what has amounted to a short treatise will present additional strategies to counter the dangers of political correctness. A case study will be used to demonstrate additional strategies that can be used to combat the dangers of PC.


End Notes

1. The Top Politically InCorrect Words for 2006: http://www.languagemonitor.com/wst_page20.html
2. No Offence: Political Correctness in New Zealand
3. New Correctness August 26, 2002 http://www.australianpolitics.com/news/2002/08/02-08-26.shtml
4. Political Correctness Gone Mad”, Nov 22,2006 http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/000801.html
5. The gods of Political Correctness, Thursday, March 15, 2007 http://thisisrich.blogspot.com/2007/03/gods-of-political-correctness.html
6. Political correctness urban style http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=political+correctness
7. James Mills, “Hospital that 'banned' hot cross buns to avoid offending non-Christians”, April 10, 2007, Daily Mail.
Special acknowledgment and thank you to my editor Chana Givon. Online: http://writingtw.blogspot.com/ & http://docstalk.blogspot.com/



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