13
   

Thoughts on Political Correctness

 
 
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:44 pm
Consider the following statements, each of which is an example of something that some Americans find offensive.

- That guy jewed me out of $100.
- That is where the colored people live.
- That shirt is so gay.
- The illegals want more rights.
- The church he goes to is homophobic.
- The disabled demanded access to public buildings.

Which of these statements would you find offensive?
Which of these statements would challenge if it came from someone you know in a social setting?
Which of these statements would you ban from all public discourse?
Which of these statements would you ban from school or work settings?

The term "political correctness" has been brought up in several discussions here (and elsewhere). I am skeptical of the concept. I suspect that the term is not used to protect speech... but to stifle objection. (And ironically stifling objection is itself a form of stifling speech).

I am going to propose the following points for discussion.

1) You have the right to say things that I consider offensive or even outrageous.

2) I have the right to be offended or outraged.

3) In many situations, it may be a good idea to refrain from using terms that others find offensive even when you don't understand the offense. This is a good way to get along with others.

4) There are some times when offending people is a fine idea. There are some people I simply don't care about getting along with. There are some issues that I find more important than getting along.

5) There are different environments. Legal protections to stop offensive behavior at work or high school are essential. Standards at college should be much looser. There should be very few protections in political or public speech (only for the obvious threats, fire in a theater, etc.)

The term "political correctness" is simply speech that some (but not all) people find offensive. I don't see that the term has any real value.

 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:59 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
Which of these statements would you find offensive?

None of them. I am very hard to offend.

ebrown p wrote:
Which of these statements would challenge if it came from someone you know in a social setting?

In isolation, none of them -- my policy to such single, button-pushing words is to refuse to have my buttons pushed. I might, however, challenge a long tirade of idiotic bigotry.

ebrown p wrote:
Which of these statements would you ban from all public discourse?

None of them. I'm more afraid of the naughty-word-police than I am of naughty words.

ebrown p wrote:
Which of these statements would you ban from school or work settings?

None of them. I'm more afraid of the naughty-word-police than I am of naughty words.
H2O MAN
 
  3  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:07 pm


Political Correctness is perpetuating the rapid downfall of this Republic.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:13 pm
I find none of the sentences downright offensive.
The first two I find of bad taste.


U.S political correctness is a world joke... but at the same time, it's catching elsewhere Evil or Very Mad

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:24 pm
@ebrown p,
I'm not going to rise to the bait of those "examples" of yours, which i find too contrived, and too coy.

However . . .

Quote:
You have the right to say things that I consider offensive or even outrageous.


Absolutely--anyone has such a right, so long as it does not incite to criminality.

Quote:
I have the right to be offended or outraged.


Absolutely--anyone has such a right, so long as they do not stoop to or incite to criminality.

Quote:
In many situations, it may be a good idea to refrain from using terms that others find offensive even when you don't understand the offense. This is a good way to get along with others.


This seems rather nonsensical to me. If you don't understand that what you say is offensive, what would motivate you to refrain from saying it? Being careful not to offend others with one's speech might be a good idea in many cases, but certainly would suck as an absolute rule. For example, complaining about racism would be a good idea, even if others don't want to hear it, and even if it will make you unpopular.

Quote:
There are some times when offending people is a fine idea. There are some people I simply don't care about getting along with. There are some issues that I find more important than getting along.


I've already answered this, except for the second sentence. If one does not care to get along with some other people, and their speech or behavior is not criminal and does not incite to criminality, i see no reason why they should make any effort to avoid offending said other people. They need to be perpared to deal with the consequences, of course.

Quote:
There are different environments. Legal protections to stop offensive behavior at work or high school are essential. Standards at college should be much looser. There should be very few protections in political or public speech (only for the obvious threats, fire in a theater, etc.)


You're taking the scattergun approach here. This is actually a series of distinct statements which would need to be addressed individually, perhaps, for most respondents. For my part, however, i've already answered it by having pointed out that people have a right to express themselves on any subject in any manner they choose so long as they do not incite to criminality.

Both conservatives and liberals have notions of political rectitude--no conservative dare support gun control, for example. Whether or not you find the term to be valuable, it remains descriptive of self-imposed limits on speech which almost everyone exhibits, whether they acknowledge it or not, whether they even know it or not.

ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:25 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas,

I agree with you about not banning words in public speech. There are two points in which I definitely differ from you.

There are lots of things that will offend me (the use of the word "Jew" as a verb is an example that I thought most would agree with). In these cases I would probably challenge it first, but people who differ from me that much are people I probably don't care to be friends with... and people who don't respect my feelings aren't people I want to spend time with.

My point is that my taking personal offense is different from a widespread ban. If I decide someone is a jerk who I don't respect or want to be around, this doesn't infringe on her rights.

I disagree with you about the workplace. Workplaces are places to work, and work is a social need. People don't have the right to create a hostile environment for others at the workplace.

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:31 pm
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
There are two points in which I definitely differ from you.

They are not the first two points, and I'm sure they won't be the last. No offense taken. Wink
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:36 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta, I agree with most of what you say...

Quote:
This seems rather nonsensical to me. If you don't understand that what you say is offensive, what would motivate you to refrain from saying it?


A while ago I went to a church where some people were offended by the term "disabled". I chose to refrain from using the term, not because I shared their offense, but because I respected their feelings and didn't want to offend them.

Is this "political correctness" or respect for the expressed feelings of others?

In cases like this, it seems to me there is no advantage to pushing a point.

Quote:
For example, complaining about racism would be a good idea, even if others don't want to hear it, and even if it will make you unpopular.


Yes, if I am standing up for something I believe is important I am not worried about offending. This is an important distinction.

hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 10:34 pm
the problem with letting the level of offense police our speech is that is if even a small minority are easily offended then communication suffers. The purpose of communication is to convey information, to include emotional information. How this information is received is important but that is another subject, that comes after the communication takes place. Relationship pros go on and on about the importance of good communication, as they should, and then we hobble communication with idiotic PC rules.

when someone is offended and tells us that we should not say what we have said, the proper response is "I understand that what I have said is offensive to you, and we should talk about why you are offended, but do you don't have the right to tell me how I should speak so kindly back off"

Political correctness at root is an attempt to avoid dealing with reality, often the reality about how other people think and feel. We should be ashamed that we have let the PC nut jobs impose this nonsense upon the majority for so long.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:10 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

...
Quote:
You have the right to say things that I consider offensive or even outrageous.

Absolutely--anyone has such a right, so long as it does not incite to criminality.

I would modify this to "...as long as it doesn't incite to imminent criminality" or else the injunction be used could to ban all kinds of speech.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:19 am
@ebrown p,
Apparently, you did not immediately know that the people at that church would be offended by you saying disabled, and only learned it when you said disabled. Therefore, my question remains, how can someone refrain from saying something offensive if they don't know it is offensive. Had no one remarked to you that the term disabled offended them, you might well have continued to offend people without being aware.

This is why i didn't respond to your list of statements. People who don't know that use of "to jew" is offensive, or that "colored people" is offensive, aren't offering offense. Those who do know that, and use the language anyway, are clearly either genuinely racist, or cat the least casually inconsiderate and uncaring. For those reasons, i find it silly to discuss whether or not such things should be said, and would under most circumstances ignore someone who said them.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:21 am
@Brandon9000,
People who use the hate speech of others as a rationale for their actions have not necessarily been incited. I believe that it is correct to state that courts are able to make a fine distinction between a wilful incitement to criminality, and someone offering an allegation of incitement from the words of others as a defense for their own actions. I see no problem with the statement i made, and it is an active, functioning definition in law for determining speech which cannot be tolerated.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:29 am
I would like to emphasize two points which i made in my initial response to this thread which E_Brown did not address.

The first is that political rectitude motivates people without regard to their ideology. That conservatives often sneer at the concept of "politically correct" does not alter the fact that they have and employ their own versions of that concept.

The second is that whether or not one likes the concept, it is still a valid means of describing self-imposed limitations on speech and writing, and the attempt to impose such limits on others with regard to speech and writing which does not rise to the level of incitement to criminality.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:29 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

People who use the hate speech of others as a rationale for their actions have not necessarily been incited. I believe that it is correct to state that courts are able to make a fine distinction between a wilful incitement to criminality, and someone offering an allegation of incitement from the words of others as a defense for their own actions. I see no problem with the statement i made, and it is an active, functioning definition in law for determining speech which cannot be tolerated.

I'm afraid that the courts might be swayed to ban speech on the basis that it might eventually lead to criminality, which could be used to justify a lot of suppression of opinions.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:31 am
I believe that you are wrong. I do not claim to be an expert on law, and appeals from law. However, if memory serves me, i believe that recent laws in many states which attempt to suppress "hate speech" have been set aside in appellate processes, and i also believe that statutes which impose heavier sentences based upon a "hate speech" content in a criminal act have been set aside. We would need someone who can justifiably claim legal expertise, however, to comment on that.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:37 am
It's just that there are always lots of people looking for a loophole in the first amendment which would allow them some pretext to ban speech they don't like. The courts are made up of ordinary people who often base their decisions on their own prejudices. One needs to be very careful.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:39 am
@Brandon9000,
Well, once again, i believe that you are wrong. Courts can hardly be reasonably said to be made up of "ordinary people." The principle, at least, is that courts are made up of people with specialized knowledge of law and the principles which underlie the law.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 06:47 am
if there are going to be restrictions on language and it's usage it has to be across the board, or not at all

in talk radio the big guys are the ones being strangled, while smaller market jocks get away with more, because the focus is off them, thats wrong

advertisers have the right not to advertise and the listener has the right to turn the dial

let the 7 words stand, everything else is gold
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:00 am
@ebrown p,
ebrown p wrote:
A while ago I went to a church where some people were offended by the term "disabled". I chose to refrain from using the term, not because I shared their offense, but because I respected their feelings and didn't want to offend them.

I acknowledge that you mean well. But that's just not how language works. Words have meanings, and it's their meanings that offend. You can put a taboo on one word such as "crippled" and replace it with another word such as "disabled". But all you will do is to have the new word acquire the same offensive meaning as the old one. Thus, "disabled" becomes the new "crippled", "differently abled" becomes the new "disabled", and so on ad nausea. Likewise, "Negro", the word Martin Luther King used in his "I have a dream" speech, becomes "black", becomes "African-American", becomes "people of color". And who knows what's next.

This re-coining of words accomplishes nothing but confusion. And that, not the good intentions, is the problem with political correctness.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:23 am
First... let me make this clear again. I do not support the banning of offensive words. The courts have nothing to do with this.

The objection is to the attempt to ban offense.

My basic principle is that rights go two ways... You have the right to be offensive, then I have the right to be offended.

Language does change, but it changes in both ways. Some words do come into favor, but some other words (I offer colored as an example). Members of a society have the ability to change society (and this is not implicitly a bad thing). In this case the words are not banned, but they become generally understood as insulting.
 

Related Topics

Lipstick vs. Uppity - Discussion by A Lone Voice
Word for a belief that ... ? - Discussion by Charli
Political correctness - Question by saab
Sports PC Run Amok - Discussion by Advocate
The NFL and political correctness - Discussion by maxdancona
Stormfront is Full of Lies - Discussion by JoeBruno
Nothing wrong with political correctness - Discussion by maxdancona
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Thoughts on Political Correctness
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 05/23/2019 at 07:14:04