The Political Incorrectness of Political Correctness


mentalfloss
#1
The Political Incorrectness of Political Correctness

It's now cool to be politically incorrect.

There are few better or easier ways these days to demonstrate a rebellious streak–to establish one's iconoclastic street cred, if you will–than bashing political correctness. Pundits, columnists, and even public officials now voice anti-PC sentiment to achieve their anti-establishment bona fides. Back in the day, Bill Maher went so far as to name his TV show Politically Incorrect (link is external). And a damn fine TV show it was.

It is the height of irony that the PC "movement," driven by the motivation to avoid making a bad impression or offending others, is now one that few will publicly embrace for fear of... making a bad impression or offending others.

"Politically correct" has become a pejorative term; opposing it has become a badge of honor.

As one example, a few days ago a fellow PT blogger devoted a brief post to the Facebook movement to make May 20 "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," a response to the recent South Park controversy. He did so, in his own words, because he loves "the fight against political correctness."

Of course, when you actually think about it, the South Park firestorm–as interesting and provocative as it is–has nothing do with political correctness. PC has always been about societal norms that frown upon behavior or language that might cause offense. How this relates, in any meaningful way, to death threats and religious ideology is beyond me. But the very suggestion that political correctness is on par with (or even a slippery slope anywhere near) such calls to violence is a fancifully amusing one that reveals just how deep-seated anti-PC animosity has become.

Don't get me wrong: political correctness is not without problems. In research in my own lab, we've found that bending over backwards to avoid offending others often backfires, creating a negative impression as a distracted and disingenuous person. We've also found that when you free individuals from their concerns about making a good impression and not saying anything offensive, they actually enjoy interracial interactions more (link is external). It turns out that it's liberating to speak your mind and be yourself.

So I'm far from a hard-core acolyte of the orthodoxy of PC. And I'm not just saying that to sound edgy or cool, I swear.

But at the same time, I must admit to having a hard time getting worked into a lather over political correctness. After all, PC comes from a good place with good intention to which most of us would subscribe: to make sure that all people feel comfortable and even valued. It doesn't seem like such a terrible thing to err on that side of caution much of the time.

Mad MenWe live in a far more open, tolerant, and equitable society today than people did 50 years ago. The flat-out rejection and demonization of political correctness strikes me as a repudiation of much of this progress. When you watch an episode of Mad Men and see the poor treatment of women in the workplace or blatant racism expressed as acceptable conversation in ordinary social settings, is your reaction, "ah, now those were the days"? For most of us, I think not. Indeed, many of us are actually more pro-PC than we think (or admit) we are.

So, yes, we need the Bill Mahers and Larry Davids and South Parks of the world around to say the things we feel like we can't. To remind us that many social conventions are downright silly. A bit of mockery of political correctness is refreshing, not to mention pretty funny in many cases.

But political correctness as a symbol of all that's wrong with today's society? PC as a great evil to "fight against"? I just don't see it. If I were going to make an exception to some personal prohibition against political activism, perhaps it'd be to combat violence, hatred, poverty, or another one of society's true ills. It certainly wouldn't be to rail against something as innocuous as political correctness. There are bigger fish to fry, as well as a compelling argument to be made that political correctness has done far more good than bad on balance.

Not to mention that when everybody's denouncing the same idea, how anti-establishment can the protest really be? I fear that anti-PC backlash may not be quite as cool or rebellious as some think it is. And not all of us pull it off as well as the professionals on cable TV do.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...al-correctness
 
Ludlow
No Party Affiliation
#2
I'd rather go down to the river and fish for awhile. Don't have to concern yourself so much with words.
 
petros
#3
Street cred?

Yo yo.

Is it my turn to wear the hat?

Wearing the same hat as everybody else takes guts. Does that qualify as "street cred"?
 
mentalfloss
#4
Political Correctness.

Is it my turn to wear the mortarboard?
 
petros
#5
Yes! We're tired of grandpa's fedora.
 
Zipperfish
No Party Affiliation
+1
#6  Top Rated Post
"After all, PC comes from a good place with good intention to which most of us would subscribe: to make sure that all people feel comfortable and even valued. "

I certainly don't agree wiht that sentiment. In some cases, the motive is benevolent.In many other cases, political correctness tool used to control the dialogue.
 
petros
+1
#7
Let's all drink beer, hug, and pretend to celebrate our differences.
 
mentalfloss
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Zipperfish View Post

"After all, PC comes from a good place with good intention to which most of us would subscribe: to make sure that all people feel comfortable and even valued. "

I certainly don't agree wiht that sentiment. In some cases, the motive is benevolent.In many other cases, political correctness tool used to control the dialogue.

I agree.

Many times the term is used to avoid criticism.
 
petros
#9
Two men bump into each in a pub spilling their beer. One turns to the other and says "sorry bro" while the other says " hey man, **** happens".

Two women bump and spill drinks they state them same platitudes, turn around and walk away mumbling " what f-cking bitch".

Which one is closer to the PC we know and love?
 
mentalfloss
#10
The one you hate cuz u says so.
 
petros
#11
The one where everybody fakes being PC?
 
mentalfloss
#12
PC?

Or PC?
 
petros
#13
>hug<
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#14
No surprise there is a backlash against PC. Much like a backlash against self imposed stupidity.
 
mentalfloss
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

No surprise there is a backlash against PC. Much like a backlash against self imposed stupidity.

Yea PCs are total morans.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#16
Personally, when somebody starts complaining about how he "isn't allowed" to use the word n*gger, for example, even though black people use it amongst themselves, I encourage him to use it whenever he likes. Preferably in the poor parts of town.
 
DaSleeper
#17
By the same token, we should frown on people using the term Injun....unless they are an Injun and can prove it
 
gopher
No Party Affiliation
+1
#18
T-shirt seen on the streets every once in a while:


 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
#19
Political correctness has become the steaming pile of extremist rhetoric it was initially devised to prevent.

It's from 2013 but it's relevant.

The Problem With Political Correctness | BJ Gallagher
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

Political correctness has become the steaming pile of extremist rhetoric it was initially devised to prevent.

I'm not sure it was "devised" in the first place.

Quote:

It's from 2013 but it's relevant.

The Problem With Political Correctness¬*|¬*BJ Gallagher

It is unfortunate that the anti-PC crowd will be led by the worst of their kind, cursing "victims" whilst whining about their victimhood.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Tecumsehsbones View Post

I'm not sure it was "devised" in the first place.

Oh I'm pretty sure it was devised. Tact and manners are not new, why would we need new terminology?


Quote:

It is unfortunate that the anti-PC crowd will be led by the worst of their kind, cursing "victims" whilst whining about their victimhood.

I don't necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the OpEd piece but there are some salient points made though. I've been, or seen others, interrupted enough in order to have their terminology 'corrected' when what was being expressed, and how, was not needing of correction (let alone being interrupted to do so) that I'd have to agree that in at least a great many situations it has become a wet blanket that stifles open discourse.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

Oh I'm pretty sure it was devised. Tact and manners are not new, why would we need new terminology?

It's hard to figure out exactly what the origin of the term was. Was it lefties dragooning speech, or righties whining about people objecting to their hate speech? Either way, whilst tact and manners are indeed not new, nor are violations, often gleeful, of tact and manners. And much of what was considered within the bounds of tact and manners a generation ago would now shock even the most past-hugging right-winger.


Quote:

I don't necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the OpEd piece but there are some salient points made though. I've been, or seen others, interrupted enough in order to have their terminology 'corrected' when what was being expressed, and how, was not needing of correction (let alone being interrupted to do so) that I'd have to agree that in at least a great many situations it has become a wet blanket that stifles open discourse.

I never assume you do. And you are correct. In this as in all things, there are people who take it too far. Just as on the other side of the issue, there are people who will consider the end of "PC," should it come, as license to be deliberately offensive for no reason other than to salve their own terror. Boomster and Blackleaf spring to mind.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Tecumsehsbones View Post

It's hard to figure out exactly what the origin of the term was. Was it lefties dragooning speech, or righties whining about people objecting to their hate speech? Either way, whilst tact and manners are indeed not new, nor are violations, often gleeful, of tact and manners. And much of what was considered within the bounds of tact and manners a generation ago would now shock even the most past-hugging right-winger.

I never assume you do. And you are correct. In this as in all things, there are people who take it too far. Just as on the other side of the issue, there are people who will consider the end of "PC," should it come, as license to be deliberately offensive for no reason other than to salve their own terror. Boomster and Blackleaf spring to mind.

My inclination is to drag rudeness out into the light of day and the under lying theme behind political correctness, I've always believed, is to silence it. And I don't think we gain anything by silencing it. We completely remove such things as context, which is a tremendously large component in deciphering whether someone saying something is actually racist or just saying something stupid out of anger or ignorance or whatever. I think back to my grandfather, a product of his generation who would use terminology that would be considered very non-PC, not constantly mind you but on enough occasion that it would make me cringe now and then. His intention was never to be deliberately offensive. I've always viewed the rhetoric commonly associated with his generation as being uninformed, which is not necessarily racist or sexist or "evil" in any particular way. And I say this because his views did change, younger generations conversed with him and his mind did open to new thoughts, new ideas. New to him anyway. And if that's not what we want for someone with a closed mind/narrow mindset then I don't know what we do want.

The notion behind political correctness, politically correct speech may be an updated version of tact and manners (and that's all well and good) but the effect is that it's simply a band-aid "solution". The wound is still there and in many case could indeed be infected, but we don't have to look at it because we put a band aid over it. And in that way it can, and I believe does, do real harm.

Yes there are always going to be 'extremists', ones who will say what they want how they want. So what? If it's there then it can be challenged, if it's only bullsh!t rhetoric then there won't be any of substance behind it and it will fade away on it's own, if there is something substantive behind it, then dialogue can begin. But none of that can happen if it's silenced.
 
DaSleeper
#24
Life and politics are like a pendulum, it can never stay on one extreme for too long ....A. P.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

My inclination is to drag rudeness out into the light of day and the under lying theme behind political correctness, I've always believed, is to silence it. And I don't think we gain anything by silencing it.

It simply drives it underground. I was actually encouraged by the blossoming of overt racism that accompanied Obama's election. It's the 25% of bigotry that's left after you ensure full legal equality.

As far as the banners, three thoughts:

1. Some are sufficiently moronic as to think that silencing a person will change her mind.

2. Some more see two benefits to silencing: one less thing the traditionally discriminated-against have to deal with and the hope that by silencing it, it will be less likely to be passed on to the next generation.

3. Much of the so-called "forbidding" of speech is no such thing, it is social disapproval, in other words, the same enforcers of tact and courtesy that have always applied.

NB: I realize we approach this from somewhat different perspectives. I understand that in Canada the government can actually act against so-called hate speech. Not here. Down hereabouts, the racists whining about how expressing their hate is "forbidden" mean that there is an increasing slice of society that won't put up with their sh*t, not that the government will do anything (there's almost nothing the government can do, under our notions of free speech).

Quote:

We completely remove such things as context, which is a tremendously large component in deciphering whether someone saying something is actually racist or just saying something stupid out of anger or ignorance or whatever.

No, "we" don't. The militant fringe does, and sometimes they talk the majority into agreeing. And sometimes they don't.

Quote:

I think back to my grandfather, a product of his generation who would use terminology that would be considered very non-PC, not constantly mind you but on enough occasion that it would make me cringe now and then. His intention was never to be deliberately offensive. I've always viewed the rhetoric commonly associated with his generation as being uninformed, which is not necessarily racist or sexist or "evil" in any particular way. And I say this because his views did change, younger generations conversed with him and his mind did open to new thoughts, new ideas. New to him anyway. And if that's not what we want for someone with a closed mind/narrow mindset then I don't know what we do want.

That happens. And in many cases it doesn't happen.

Quote:

The notion behind political correctness, politically correct speech may be an updated version of tact and manners (and that's all well and good) but the effect is that it's simply a band-aid "solution". The wound is still there and in many case could indeed be infected, but we don't have to look at it because we put a band aid over it. And in that way it can, and I believe does, do real harm.

As does allowing continual belittling of women, minorities, the disabled, &c., particularly in schools and workplaces.

Quote:

Yes there are always going to be 'extremists', ones who will say what they want how they want. So what? If it's there then it can be challenged, if it's only bullsh!t rhetoric then there won't be any of substance behind it and it will fade away on it's own, if there is something substantive behind it, then dialogue can begin. But none of that can happen if it's silenced.

Already addressed most of that. And don't think that what I've said is my own feelings on the matter. I was just giving you the other side.

I figure "PC," which by the way we haven't even really defined, is a mixed bag of good, bad, and indifferent. I don't support it, don't condemn it. Like everything else, it has done both harm and good in society, and mostly had no effect at all.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Tecumsehsbones View Post

It simply drives it underground. I was actually encouraged by the blossoming of overt racism that accompanied Obama's election. It's the 25% of bigotry that's left after you ensure full legal equality.

As far as the banners, three thoughts:

1. Some are sufficiently moronic as to think that silencing a person will change her mind.

2. Some more see two benefits to silencing: one less thing the traditionally discriminated-against have to deal with and the hope that by silencing it, it will be less likely to be passed on to the next generation.

3. Much of the so-called "forbidding" of speech is no such thing, it is social disapproval, in other words, the same enforcers of tact and courtesy that have always applied.

NB: I realize we approach this from somewhat different perspectives. I understand that in Canada the government can actually act against so-called hate speech. Not here. Down hereabouts, the racists whining about how expressing their hate is "forbidden" mean that there is an increasing slice of society that won't put up with their sh*t, not that the government will do anything (there's almost nothing the government can do, under our notions of free speech).

I agree it drives it underground, not a good place for it to be. It grows in the dark, the light is what can kill it but it will only kill it slowly over time. Social change, real change, takes generations to happen. But that is more sustainable, it is real change.

I can appreciate the appeal for the traditionally discriminated against having to deal with one less thing. Having said that though, just being a member of a 'traditionally discriminated" group doesn't mean that all instances that do not work in their favour are instances of discrimination. And I'm saying this as a member of one of those groups.


Quote:

No, "we" don't. The militant fringe does, and sometimes they talk the majority into agreeing. And sometimes they don't.

Fair enough but I'm not so sure they talk the majority into agreeing so much as they stifle them into silence because nobody sane and rational wants to deal with the militant fringe. So they don't bother. It breeds complacency in that regard.

Quote:

As does allowing continual belittling of women, minorities, the disabled, &c., particularly in schools and workplaces.

None of which I would ever participate in or condone. Still there is an overwhelming sense, and not just to me, of being constantly condescended to over matters involving the above just the same, particularly if one has an honest and legitimate criticism of someone who happens to be a member of one of the groups you've mentioned. Again, I say this as a member of one of those groups.


Quote:

Already addressed most of that. And don't think that what I've said is my own feelings on the matter. I was just giving you the other side.

I figure "PC," which by the way we haven't even really defined, is a mixed bag of good, bad, and indifferent. I don't support it, don't condemn it. Like everything else, it has done both harm and good in society, and mostly had no effect at all.

I'm not sure I even really recognize a society anymore. I think we're mostly a cobbled together group of various discriminated individuals all clamouring to be the most important 'me, me, me' there is.
 
mentalfloss
#27
Political correctness is a term that needs to be taken with a grain of salt, like 'left' and 'right'.

At this point, the term is so loaded, we are probably better off using more specific qualifiers that it can encompass - like 'politeness' or 'cultural sensitivity'.
 
Tecumsehsbones
+1
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

I agree it drives it underground, not a good place for it to be. It grows in the dark, the light is what can kill it but it will only kill it slowly over time. Social change, real change, takes generations to happen. But that is more sustainable, it is real change.

I can appreciate the appeal for the traditionally discriminated against having to deal with one less thing. Having said that though, just being a member of a 'traditionally discriminated" group doesn't mean that all instances that do not work in their favour are instances of discrimination. And I'm saying this as a member of one of those groups.

I agree. I really don't give a damn what anybody says. And I prefer to know who my enemies are.

Nonetheless, one of the few ways the U.S. government can deal with speech is abusive and belittling speech against minorities and women in education and the workplace. It's called "creating a hostile work environment," and it's treated as education or employment discrimination. This is simple acknowledgement of the reality that when you call somebody "n*gger" every day until he quits, it's not "Aw, we wuz just funnin'." It's invidious discrimination.


Quote:

Fair enough but I'm not so sure they talk the majority into agreeing so much as they stifle them into silence because nobody sane and rational wants to deal with the militant fringe. So they don't bother. It breeds complacency in that regard.

None of which I would ever participate in or condone. Still there is an overwhelming sense, and not just to me, of being constantly condescended to over matters involving the above just the same, particularly if one has an honest and legitimate criticism of someone who happens to be a member of one of the groups you've mentioned. Again, I say this as a member of one of those groups.

All true, and I share the contempt for individuals and groups who regard every little thing as "microaggression." Still, as an example, if someone perpetually uses feminine characteristics or women as a synonym for weakness, it can be both wearing in and of itself, and it makes you wonder if that person doesn't also discriminate against women, consciously or unconsciously. And I agree that the best way to deal with such people is to subject them to the usual range of social pressures used against the crude and boorish, EXCEPT when that person has authority in education or employment.


Quote:

I'm not sure I even really recognize a society anymore. I think we're mostly a cobbled together group of various discriminated individuals all clamouring to be the most important 'me, me, me' there is.

I'll still take it over the Indian school.
 
Corduroy
#29
This article is 5 years old but it read like it's 20. Bill Maher even named his show "politically incorrect?" Yeah... in 1993. It's been over 10 years since it was cancelled. The spectre of political correctness is not a thing you baby boomers need to worry about anymore. It's the 21st century.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Corduroy View Post

This article is 5 years old but it read like it's 20. Bill Maher even named his show "politically incorrect?" Yeah... in 1993. It's been over 10 years since it was cancelled. The spectre of political correctness is not a thing you baby boomers need to worry about anymore. It's the 21st century.

*shakes cane at Corduroy* You show some respect, young whippersnapper! And get off my lawn!
 

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