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Nothing wrong with political correctness

 
 
Reply Sun 25 Dec, 2011 10:24 pm
Political Correctness is a term that is thrown about quite a bit these days, on Able2Know and elsewhere. The term is almost always used as a put down. The problem is that the term has no specific meaning. It is used in so many context that it can be applied to almost anything which renders the term useless.

Consider the following uses of the term.(This is not even close a complete list).

1) Taking offense at words that some people find insulting (such as "queer", "anchor baby" or "tar baby").
2) Having sympathy for someone that you don't think deserves sympathy.
3) Teaching history classes that specifically focus on a minority.
4) Saying that anything or anyone is racist.
5) Holding any number of political positions (such as gun control or racial profiling).
6) Machines that speak more than one language.
7) Suggesting that any of a number of groups, for example women or homosexuals, should be treated more fairly.
8) Acknowledging there is more than one holiday in December.

Now I am suggesting the term is useless. This is not an statement about any specific action or event that may be tagged with this meaning label. With such a great number of things that are labeled "political correctness" it is inevitable that some of these things will be bad. For example, I am pretty solidly against censorship of any kind. But this leads to an interesting paradox.

The people who throw around the "political correctness" label are often trying to stifle debate. They want to be able to call people "queer", but they feel no one should ever be called "bigot". It seems reasonable that in a free society you should be able to say either. Free speech is free speech.

Since the term is so broad it is useless there is nothing inherently wrong with being politically correct. It is a silly endeavor to try to lump such a broad swath of America under the same term as if everyone who doesn't want to be called "nigger" is in favor of stricter gun laws. It would be more honest and useful to express your position without using terms that are both prejudicial and meaningless.

Just to be clear, I don't want to prevent people from using the term "politically correct". Certainly the term should be allowed. In my opinion the people who use this term as a broad put down to shortcut real discussion are being dumb asses.
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OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Sun 25 Dec, 2011 10:33 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Political Correctness is a term that is thrown about quite a bit these days, on Able2Know and elsewhere. The term is almost always used as a put down. The problem is that the term has no specific meaning. It is used in so many context that it can be applied to almost anything which renders the term useless.

Consider the following uses of the term.(This is not even close a complete list).

1) Taking offense at words that some people find insulting (such as "queer", "anchor baby" or "tar baby").
2) Having sympathy for someone that you don't think deserves sympathy.
3) Teaching history classes that specifically focus on a minority.
4) Saying that anything or anyone is racist.
5) Holding any number of political positions (such as gun control or racial profiling).
6) Machines that speak more than one language.
7) Suggesting that any of a number of groups, for example women or homosexuals, should be treated more fairly.
8) Acknowledging there is more than one holiday in December.

Now I am suggesting the term is useless. This is not an statement about any specific action or event that may be tagged with this meaning label. With such a great number of things that are labeled "political correctness" it is inevitable that some of these things will be bad. For example, I am pretty solidly against censorship of any kind. But this leads to an interesting paradox.

The people who throw around the "political correctness" label are often trying to stifle debate. They want to be able to call people "queer", but they feel no one should ever be called "bigot". It seems reasonable that in a free society you should be able to say either. Free speech is free speech.
AGREED.
To my mind,
being bigoted only means having STRONG OPINIONS "By God".





David
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 10:06 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Some of what is termed "political correctness" is common courtesy. If someone doesn't want to be referred to with a term, be it "colored" or "indian", there isn't much of a big deal for me to change my language at least in their company.

A while ago at work, someone took offense because I referred to a political movement at "teabaggers". I used the word without much thought because my normal group of friends share my feelings about politics. When the HR person told me someone had complained I agreed that that was inappropriate at work. I haven't used the term at work since.

Changing my language or behavior out of consideration for others seems like a good thing to me.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 11:30 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Some of what is termed "political correctness" is common courtesy.
If someone doesn't want to be referred to with a term,
be it "colored" or "indian", there isn't much of a big deal for me
to change my language at least in their company.
That is among your options.

About 20 years ago, a young man handed me some communist literature
and a commie sales pitch. I told him what I thawt of him.
I was neither soft-spoken, nor polite.
(Unexpectedly, he showed emotions of being distraught at my disapproval.)






maxdancona wrote:
A while ago at work, someone took offense because I referred to a political movement at "teabaggers". I used the word without much thought because my normal group of friends share my feelings about politics. When the HR person told me someone had complained I agreed that that was inappropriate at work. I haven't used the term at work since.

Changing my language or behavior out of consideration for others seems like a good thing to me.
"Good" has been defined in many different ways.
I posssibly tend to agree with u about free expression, under some circumstances.

How u speak
and what u do on someone else's property, on someone else's time,
is not exactly the same as free expression on neutral territory (the streets)
or on your own property.

If some Jews see a nazi, wearing his swastika on his arm, walking in the street,
I don't see any problem if thay openly speak their minds,
if thay don 't disturb the nabors unreasonably.





David
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 12:07 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
I think we agree completely David.

Anyone has a right to express their displeasure at having Nazis marching in the street. This does not take away the rights of Nazi's to march in the street. I would be at the front of the line to yell unpleasant things at the Nazis, but at the same time I would strongly oppose any government or police attempt to stop them from marching. I think the US policy of protecting offensive speech, for example letting Nazis to march in public, is a great idea. We let the ugliness out into the light where it can be challenged and repudiated in public.

I suppose this means that the common courtesy I spoke of in my previous post is situational. There are circumstances in which common courtesy seems inappropriate.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 12:15 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
To get back to my original post, the Nazi example is an interesting.

Is it politically correct to allow the Nazis to march (to protect the rights of an unpopular group), or is it politically correct to stop them from marching (to protect the feelings of an ethnic minority)?

The answer, of course, is either way is politically correct. This is a perfect example of why the term "politically correct" is meaningless.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 01:10 pm
As Luther had it, it depends on whose ox is gored.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 02:44 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
To get back to my original post, the Nazi example is an interesting.

Is it politically correct to allow the Nazis to march (to protect the rights of an unpopular group),
or is it politically correct to stop them from marching (to protect the feelings of an ethnic minority)?
We most ofen hear that term used
in an effort to stifle expression of a vu that is not approved by the politically correct person who objects.

I have in mind the environment of academia, as reported in the press.

Note, incidentally, that this imperative to suppress alternate opinions
was energeticly practiced by both nazis and commies, in their respective countries.





David
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