March 1, 2013
In some ways more foreboding than an actual disease, political correctness is quite possibly the bane of my existence. So many times, I’ve been mid sentence before proceeding to stop abruptly and verbally flail around a bit, attempting to recover from the realization that the contents of what I was planning to say would likely be misconstrued. Recently, I’ve been giving the concept more consideration. This may be in part related to my watching the rather candid speech neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson delivered a couple weeks ago.
Most people would claim P.C. exists primarily in the media. I, however, disagree. The latter of which is actually a risky thing to do nowadays because an innocent opinion can be manipulated into malicious intent or oppression. P.C. violators risk being labeled ‘insensitive’ or ‘ignorant.’ Careers have been tainted, and in some cases ruined, due to the offender’s words being twisted in the name of P.C.
Like cancerous growths, P.C. epidemics begin benignly. But as is the case with such afflictions, they have the possibility of becoming fatal. ‘Political correctness’ may have taken on a pejorative connotation, but only since it’s managed to subtly integrate itself into our society. Most disturbing may be the passive way in which people have accepted it.
P.C. can stifle individual expression through speech. After a while it impedes the incentive to even think of certain phrases, gradually turning us into a more severe group of mindless conformists than we already are. There’s no point in wasting breath on a bunch of flowery technicalities which result in a watered down version of the English language, not to mention all the confrontation that stems from individuals purposely flouting P.C. Over time, P.C.-approved terms tend to become derogatory anyway. This just leads to a euphemism treadmill.
The bottom line is that people react differently. Some are extraordinarily thick-skinned, while others are bound to be offended by anything. You just can’t please everyone, and trying to is foolish.