Response to Article on Political Correctness

Political correctness is a pleasant concept, and I believe that most people want to avoid unnecessarily offending others (written in response to this previous OGB opinion piece). 

Unfortunately, PC culture fails to hold up in practice. This is because political correctness is an issue of censorship. When we are too afraid of hurting someone’s feelings to have an open dialogue, we are censoring ourselves. Arguments should be about critically analyzing ideas in order to arrive at a greater truth. It is dangerous to claim that we should sacrifice open discussions in favor of being PC.

It would be nice to never offend anyone, but this is not always possible. Even if a sentiment is offensive, we cannot afford to disregard it; when we do so, we fail to acknowledge what we can learn from it. As someone who works for a newspaper, I would have thought that the writer would be in favor of free speech. If someone tried censoring a column because they disagreed with it, the author would be understandably upset. Individuals have the right to speak their mind regardless of the content of their thoughts.

If everyone used a PC vocabulary, I do not believe it would make any steps towards solving the problem. Political correctness is a way of making conversations sound artificially cleaner; however, it does nothing to curb the intent with which those words are used. People are completely capable of using a PC vocabulary to express hateful ideas. When someone speaks, what matters is their message. If we take away one method of hate speech, those that are hateful with simply find another way. Political correctness is the equivalent of sweeping our mess into the closet. We won’t have to look at it, but are we doing anything to actually solve the problem? We cannot hide from an issue forever if we hope to resolve it.

“I don’t find it to be a coincidence that those so opposed to being politically correct aren’t a part of any marginalized group” is used in this column as a way to disregard criticism of PC language without every addressing the critiques. An idea’s merit is independent of one’s race, creed, or background. This quote perfectly demonstrates how PC culture encourages us to disregard arguments by being offended rather than produce constructive conversation.

Unfortunately, that is all that this argument appears to be. The author consistently makes unqualified claims with no arguments to support them. It is much easier to claim “this is how the world works” than to try to truly understand it. PC culture is so appealing because it is easy. But to do something correctly is hard; it is hard to support our arguments. It is hard to look at ourselves critically and see if our ideas hold any merit. It is hard to ask if something is right, especially if asking makes others uncomfortable. But just because something is hard does not mean it is unnecessary.