Political Correctness is Killing Us-Part TwoIt 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:
- New Zealand- Parliament erected a fake Christmas tree with no lights to avoid any fire risk, and took off the angel to avoid offending non-Christians.2
- Australia- I grieve for the rise of the new political correctnessthe hypocritical demand of the conservative establishment in this country for civility in political debate.3
- Great Britain- the (British) Daily Mail, reports on Samaritans Purse a Christian charity bringing Christmas cheer to needy children abroad, that this year has banned Jesus, God and anything else connected with its own faith in case Muslims are offended.4
- USA- The Democrats represent full-throttle political correctness while Republicans stand ready to advance political correctness just a little bit more slowly.5
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 challenged6 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 ones 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 persons 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:
- You make me so angry, I am going to
- Driving on the freeway makes me so nervous, I sometimes
- If I had a BMW, I would be accepted by
- Must be the club that sliced the ball out of bounds
- Using the incorrect words or phrases will offend someone and hurt their feelings
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 persons feelings, thus you cannot say anything that may offend someone. Allow me to suggest that you are not responsible for anyones feelings. An individuals 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 ones 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 sayno 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.
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/