To Be or Not to Be: Politically Correct

This is Peggy Romero ‘s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I’ve always wanted to write a blog about being Politically Correct. I’m going to give a speech in two weeks about this, so it made me drag out my chair and sit in front of the computer, squeeze something out of me!

Whoever has any opinions about being ‘P.C.’, feel free to have an open discussion. Note that the ‘P.C.’ here is not abbreviated from what is commonly known as ‘Personal Computer’.

Politically Correct is commonly abbreviated to PC. This term generally refers to language, ideas, politics or behaviors used to minimize offense to racial, cultural or other identity groups.
I’ve always believed in being Politically Correct. I believe we should carefully choose our words when we talk about certain issues, like race, religion, political views and gender issues.

I once had a struggle over this belief of mine. A few years ago, I happened to have a conversation with an American friend of mine who is rather intelligent. What he said about ‘politically correct’ affected what I thought ‘politically correct” had always meant to me. We were having this little debate over whether we should call people by color or not. I told him that I used the term ‘Caucasian’ instead of ‘White’ because I don’t want to be called ‘Yellow’. I’m an Asian. Therefore, I try to be more PC and I expect people to do likewise. He didn’t agree with me and here is what he said: “Saying what you mean and what you think is what Freedom of Speech is intended for. We all need to realize this (and none too soon) that first and foremost we are all humans. But since we do have differing appearances, it is easy to say ‘White’ rather than ‘Caucasian’. But what does Caucasian mean? It means white, right? So you’re still calling me white, just using another name for it. For example, poop and shit mean the same thing and refer to the same thing. So, why is shit considered bad but poop is ok? Because we, as humans have made it that way. Calling someone black is only bad if it has bad connotations with it. But in fact, they ARE black.”

As a matter of fact, he made a good point. Has the idea of being Politically Correct gone overboard? Maybe we, as humans, literally have made the words good or bad.

Meanwhile, I tried to ask a couple of people’s opinion about it. Some of them say: “Uhhh, I don’t really care. I’m not gonna get offended anyway. Words are just words. Words won’t hurt me.” Many people say: “I think we should say whatever that is in our mind. People’s feelings are eventually going to get hurt no matter how hard we try to be nice.”

There are reasons why I believe in trying to be Politically Correct: First of all, I do not think ‘Words are just words’. We humans have made definitions of words. Yet, if we should simply say whatever that is in our mind, what comes out of our mouth means what we think. For instance, if I were in a foreign country and someone would call me a ‘Chink’, he or she has the right to say whatever that is in his or her mind. But that word is absolutely going to offend me. As we all know, that is a vulgar word to Asian people. Words are NOT just words. They are a powerful tool. It’s a tool invented by humans to express our feelings, thoughts and opinions. Secondly, I believe in the ‘Freedom of Speech’. I do believe we all have the very right to speak out our own opinions.

Admittedly, people’s feelings are eventually going to get hurt. Not for nothing, there is a difference between being offended by one’s informed opinion… and being offended by ignorance. When describing a person who is lacking of certain physical or mental ability, we may use the word ‘Disabled’ rather than calling him or her ‘Retarded’. Calling someone from Asian countries an ‘Asian’ is somehow more respectful than using the word ‘Chink’.

Lastly, being Politically Correct is not censorship. Only when the term becomes institutionalized, it turns out to be a sign of censorship afoot. Being Politically Correct is a choice. It’s simply a choice of selecting a better word in our vocabulary.

7 thoughts on “To Be or Not to Be: Politically Correct”

  1. I think that what you are seeking to do is be diplomatically sensitive and polite. Political Correctness is a different animal – it’s the enforced expectation of conformity to whatever trendy norms are being imposed by aggrieved groups. Personal politeness is no danger to free speech. PC is.

  2. Politically correct does not just refer to our language, but maybe celebration? One state recently had just banned Christmas trees in public libraries, I mean they are public locations, but it seems as we try to respect other cultures and religions, we have this thing for oppressing the one whos values founded this country, or that have the majority in this country.
    I know thats opening a can of beans thats not intended to be opened, but, I figure I’d mention that.
    Though yes, there is a point where politically correct goes too far. Some have decided to call the word Monkey racist…. even if you are calling a child who is white who likes to climb a lot a monkey. I guess I was being racist when I was calling my own younger brother a monkey when he was younger. Thats one reason I can’t stand “politically correct.” It just goes as far as to be censorship.
    Anyway, those are my views on the issue.
    I give the article 3.6/5

  3. Political correctness is ruining the United Kingdom. Politicans dodge the issues that need debating because it may offend minorities. Therefore nothing gets done. It’s silly. I am for politiness but PC has gone too far in the UK. Sounds silly but to the point where someone of a minority was offended because someone was flying the British flag! In a town/city which i cannot remeber the name of has decided it cannot name Christmas lights after Christmas anymore as it may offend other religions. I think PC has crossed the line in the UK as it is putting too much focus on minorities and less on the majority of the population, now I no that may sound like I am being a racist if your subscribe to PC but it happens.

  4. I think in recent years, “PC” has been a bit abused. I think some folks are overly oppressive about it.

    I do feel it’s incredibly important to show your respect for other people.

    In so many cases, Race doesn’t need to be a part of the conversation. In cases when Race is a part of that conversation, we need to show our respect and consideration.

    I get easily confused in some “Race References.” Do we say “Black” these days, or “African American?!”

    People are people, all races and both sexes.. They are part of the abundance of life.

    A few years ago, I worked alongside many people from Somalia. Thankfully they spoke English.

    They were a great bunch of people, and they even laughed at my jokes. They made my working day more pleasant.

    I didn’t always know all about their customs, but they made me feel at ease.

    And some of them even had a sense of humor when I didn’t get their names right.

  5. PC is a bad idea gone too far and it should be taken behind the barn and shot. Sure calling people with derogatory names they find offending is bad, but it always was… I mean I hate PC but I would never call somebody a ‘chink’ unless I was trying to make some kind of point or joking with a friend I know won’t get offended. Deliberately insulting and disrespecting other people without a specific reason was a sure sign of an uncivilized moron and rejected by society long before PC came along. And I don’t know about other people but if I want to insult or disrespect somebody, I am perfectly capable of doing it in a politically correct manner and making it hurt just as much. So only thing PC adds to the equation is a potential for abuse. We would have been much better off insisting on good manners and basic respect of other people. Much harder to abuse and would have done more to make the world a nicer place to be than PC ever has.

  6. The concept of “Politically Correct” is a good and valid thing; the name itself has come to signify enforced conformity for the sake of the overly sensitive. The next time you’re in the presence of someone who says something insensitive, ask them to be more politically correct and you will wind up in a fight. But ask them to be more considerate and you will get an entirely different reaction.

  7. I consider being called Caucasian a ridiculous insult. It is, for one thing, a stupidly complicated word that really only is in use for this political correctness thing. I am not white or Caucasian, I am Canadian, and if you’re going to stereotype me to anything, I’d prefer that. In fact, if you’re going to call me anything, call me Human. I am a human being. The color of my skin is irrelevant and shouldn’t need to be used in reference to me unless you have to describe my physical appearance.

    In fact, I consider political correctness more of an insult than racial or degrading terms. Because all it does is draw attention to the fact that I am (something). Saying that someone is an African American is making a point of their skin color when in fact, it should be an entirely irrelevant thing. We as people have become far too obsessed with political correctness, when all it does is draw attention to things that needn’t be up front.

    On that note, African Americans can be white too and black people can be not African. So I consider that even more insulting, to blanket term them as African American instead of black. I don’t like being blanketed as Caucasian. Call me white if my skin color matters so much you have to gingerly chose a potentially non-offensive term to describe me.

    Political correctness has gone far too overboard.

    I consider it more offensive that we have to gingerly search for a word or a phrase that might possibly not offend the most ridiculous of people. Apparently, I am not an asthmatic anymore. I am a person with asthma.

    Politeness is a good thing. It’s all fine and dandy. I like consideration and respect. I wouldn’t blanket term someone as black or white or Asian, even, as there’s a ton of types of Asian. But politeness is one thing. Politeness is not calling someone a Chink or a damned woman or a ‘tard. Consideration is keeping in mind your audience and what they will appreciate. My friends know I find Caucasian ridiculous and would rather be blanket termed as white. That’s consideration.

    Political correctness is taking general politeness and respect and shoving it so far out the door in search of the most legalistic words and terms, as to not be misunderstood or offend even the most offendable. It’s one thing to be politically correct for speeches or legal terms of use, but when I have to gingerly pick around my words in day to day life when I’m ordinarily a polite albeit honest person, it’s gone too far. She’s Chinese, he’s nearsighted, that’s my friend there and he’s an Aussie…

    Political correctness shouldn’t exist. It should all be based on consideration of the situation you are in and the people you are communicating with. Exercise the right to chose based on situation. I know that’s my friend and he thinks slang terms for his race are hilarious. I don’t know that person so I’ll be more ginger around them. I know that person knows me well enough and will realize I’m not being offensive if I describe someone as ‘black’, I’m just too lazy to type out a long and dramatic and political correct statement.

    In short: if more people were polite and considerate and exercised the right to make up their own minds on situations rather than following rules for “political correctness”, we wouldn’t even need those rules.

    I am not politically correct unless the situation demands it. I’m just me otherwise. And I think that’s the way everyone ought to approach situations.

    It’s a good article, by the way. It’s just not my opinion. I believe political correctness went way overboard when I couldn’t call myself ‘nearsighted’ anymore.

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