In the past couple of months it seems that PC Culture has been under attack by various media outlets and Presidential candidates. Politically correct or “PC,” according to Merriam-Webster, is “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.” Sounds like a pretty normal and reasonable request, right?
Apparently, for some people, PC culture is considered a way that progress is being “impeded” and has even been described as destroying America and it’s various institutions. Ben Carson is one republican Presidential candidate who has stated that PC culture is a way in which “[the left] frighten(s) people and get(s) people to shut up,” according to a Conservative news article.
What I don’t seem to understand however, is why exactly PC culture is so bad. Here’s some things people have said against PC culture.
- They’re just words. I have freedom of speech.
While we often like to believe that our words mean nothing, they actually can have a huge impact on certain aspects of a person’s life. As my fellow blogger, FyAwayWithMe, discusses, Microaggressions can have a huge impact on the way that a person sees themselves, or others based off of identities. If someone uses the word “retarded”, for example, to describe a situation that they find displeasing, then this can actually have a huge impact on the feelings of someone with disabilities because it gives them the idea that they may also be displeasing. Also, while we are given “Freedom of Speech” in our constitution, that doesn’t mean that we should exercise this right by acting in hurtful ways towards others. So just remember, just because you may think “it’s just a word”, to someone it can really hurt.
- I’m just kidding. Stop taking it so seriously.
When we speak, we are just giving presence to the feelings that evade our conscious thoughts. Our lives are a constant flow of feelings in reaction to the world around us. These feelings turn in to speech which ultimately turns in to action. With this action, speech is a way that we inform each other of how we think, feel, and treat others. Thus, the way that we speak is often extremely intentional and a serious matter.
- PC people are mean/rude/yell at me so I don’t need to respect them or their values
Many people claim that a huge reason that PC culture fails is because of the way that PC people react when others use incorrect language. We can see many examples of this opinion in the media, including the new Season Premiere of South Park. In this episode the school gets a new principle named PC Principle who tends to act in violence and anger when others use offensive language. Despite this example this tends to be largely untrue. In my personal experience, people who embrace the PC culture often are interested more in the education of those who may not know about various identities, rather than shaming for said lack of knowledge. Because of this, I feel that this argument often falters.
Honestly, I think that being PC just makes sense. Why would any human ever want to speak in a way that they know would cause physical, emotional, and psychological harm to another? I think that PC culture is not destroying America, but pushing it forward.