What is politically correct?

The commitment and concern the Political Correctness movement has created is admirable. It has promoted non-discrimination and multiculturalism. Much of this website is devoted to those who have fought against prejudice and won. It is important to encourage people to have an equal chance to achieve health, wealth and happiness in life.

But there always has been discrimination and it may be human nature to think that way, if not morally right. Unfortunately and not surprisingly, the control of speech by politically correct academics is not uniform. It is obvious if someone discriminates because of skin colour it is wrong, but what about hair colour? People are keen to tease redheads in England, if it was proved they are different race, how would you react?

The problem of banning certain words, is that it has only a superficial effect. Words that are correct now will inevitably become incorrect in the future. Words can mean different things in a different context. People keen to offend can easily make any word or phrase offensive. It is that which is inside that matters. If you don’t change people’s hearts, then what comes out of a person’s mouth might just be a lie, as they are covering a prejudice. The great emancipators, Gandhi, King, Biko and Mandela, always chose to love their enemy. They realised that replacing one intolerant system with another is not an improvement. Real change comes slowly, but it is from the humanity of a person. Respect for the individual is what matters. Taking time to get to know someone is more important than erecting barriers in speech.

Any idea can be taken up by a person and carried forward in the spirit of a new movement. But after a time the movement becomes mechanised as more rules are attached to it and it starts to become mechanised, unusable and obsolete. Then it ends up as part of history. If the spirit of Political Correctness is to carry on, it may need to reassess its goals and methods.

Is it tyrannical? Sometimes it appears to be quite harsh. People can lose their jobs or their careers due to an offhand remark. Especially in the media where there are always microphones around. People are apt to react badly to having a philosophy imposed on them that uses different standards or language than theirs. This can lead to discontent when they think no-one is listening. Men have often used their private time to vent their frustrations with sexist remarks. Maybe there is no rulebook, and maybe there is no defence and if that’s the case then is it any better than a tyrannical regime?

The question on my mind is if the accused has used a word or phrase that has been deemed offensive, is it really offensive or is it that he or she has had the temerity to break the rules. It maybe that the person offended uses the term themselves when there is no one listening. Hypocrisy is a strong charge to level, and I am only asking the question. But should we not apply some human understanding, rather than cause the accused to suffer unduly when all that maybe required is a rebuke.

We are like grains of sand on the seashore, the only things the binds us is our relationships. If the bonds between people are not governed by love, understanding and truth, what hope is there? Does Political Correctness make the world a better place.? I believe it has, it has highlighted the issue of discrimination and offensive language. But to re-find our individuality and relate to each other properly, it may be that we need to scale down Political Correct activity and accept each other in love. True multiculturalism should be the sharing of cultures to bring new foods, words, ideas and experiences. I believe in non-discrimination and multiculturalism unreservedly. But how do we regulate it. The important question to me is how do we tolerate the intolerant and what are the principles that allow us all to coexist.

Conway-Laird (2016)

 

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