Political Correctness Essay

“Political Correctness is tyranny with manners. ” – Charlton Heston. Being politically correct is not an extremely popular way of thinking these days. In fact, most people are not politically correct nor do they want to be. There are a few reasons that make sense as to why most choose not to join the politically correct or P. C. culture. Most disbelievers think that being P. C. is a violation of our first amendment right to freedom of speech. That it tells us what we can and cannot say. Some think that it takes too much effort to find out what is politically correct enough so not to offend anyone.

Others are simply ignorant to what is and what is not politically correct. It is not a law or requirement to be politically correct. It is simply a choice that has to be made. Because it is a choice, there is no violation of our freedom of speech. P. C. should never be a requirement or law for anyone but it should be made more simple. The general public should be better informed as to what terms are politically correct as well as what terms are offensive and degrading. Most people try to avoid offending others.

It usually brings some kind of guilt to the offender for offending someone. Being offended, however, might be even more unpopular that offending others. If this is the case, then why is it so difficult to find the right words? There are people that do not care about offending others. In cases such as that, they must realize that for certain people, such as some with intellectual disabilities, offensive words can be extremely destructive. Although people are often offended by one thing or another, a great deal of the time the offenders do not know that what they have said is offensive.

So many people are so ill informed about what can offend others that they do not realize that what they have said has insulted or hurt someone. Some use a term in the incorrect context, some use words that have become offensive over the years because of misuse and some use terms that are just completely wrong. There are many ways that a conversation can go wrong just be using the wrong word. Making it easier to know how to not offend someone can help make conversations last longer and create more relationships between different types of people. The words ‘retard’ and ‘retarded’ are words that are commonly used today in America.

Most people that use these terms use them in place of the words stupid or dumb. For example, a student that finds out that he has a lot of homework for one night might say something along the lines of, ‘That’s so retarded! ’. Merriam Webster’s definition of the word ‘retard’ is to slow down the development or progress of something. As shown by this definition, the word does not mean stupid or dumb. Over the years, as people have used these terms incorrectly over and over again, the words have become offensive. What was once a medical diagnostic term has transformed into a hateful word that people throw around like it is nothing.

Interestingly enough, many of the people that use the term do not know that it is offensive. Ninety-two percent of young Americans between the ages of eight and eighteen have reported having heard the r-word. Thirty-six percent of the same group of people have heard the term being used when speaking about someone with an intellectual disability. Whether they are using it in place of the word stupid or they are actually describing someone with an intellectual or developmental disability, some people have no idea that it is incorrect. These words have not been politically correct in years and some people still do not know that.

However, the r-word is not the only term in which people are unaware of its political incorrectness. Many unknowingly offensive terms are used today even in large scale situations, such as football. The Washington Redskins are an example of this. The term ‘Redskin’ is describing someone who is Native American or American Indian. As of recently, the Washington Redskins have been petitioned to change the mascot name because of its offensive nature. Until someone pointed it out, most people didn’t pay attention to or even realize that the term may have been offensive.

Common mistakes are often caused by the ignorance of what is politically correct. For instance, someone who had heard their grandfather describe someone using a term that was common in their day may cause that person to begin using the word without knowing its current offensiveness. Words such as ‘Gringo’, ‘Colored’, ‘Injun’, ‘Oriental’ and ‘Yid’ are examples of these common mistakes. ‘Gringo’ is typically used by someone from South America describing someone who is an english speaking American.

‘Colored’ was used to describe someone who is black and is now rather offensive. Injun’ is an offensive term for American Indians. ‘Oriental’ is generally used to describe someone from Asia and ‘Yid’ is describing someone who is Jewish. All of these terms are offensive to these groups and many people have no idea that that is the case. The majority of the people that use the term ‘African American’ are people of a different race than those who are being described by the term. Typically, those who consider themselves to be politically correct use ‘African American’ as well. Formally this may be the correct term, but informally this term is typically not used.

Some of the groups of people these common mistakes are made in have a formal term to describe them, along with a general and/or informal term. For American Indians, the formal term is Native American whereas the informal term is American Indian and the general form is Indian. African American would be the formal term for black people whereas black would be the informal term. All of these terms are politically correct but are used in their own specific context. Then there are the terms that have a more broad coverage versus a smaller coverage of people in the description.

An example of this would Asian as the more broad term and Chinese as that less broad term. There are lesser known and lesser used terms that are politically incorrect that people still use nowadays. Many people do not know that the word oriental, when being used to describe a person or group of people, is extremely offensive. The descriptions of these people should simply be Asian or the descriptive term named after their country, such as Vietnamese. Other lesser known mistakes are ‘gyp’ which comes from the word Gypsy. This term is offensive because it has also become well known as meaning to cheat someone.

Another example would be Eskimo. This term is used to describe those who live in northern North America and eastern Siberia in extremely cold weather and survive primarily by hunting and fishing. The term is no longer used and is found offensive by those who are being described. The proper term for these people would be Inuit. It does take a lot of effort and focus to understand what is politically correct and why certain things are not politically correct and that is why some people disagree with the idea of being P. C. entirely.

The first amendment on the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution includes the freedom of speech. This allows Americans to think and say what we feel without being punished or persecuted for doing so. However, this does not mean that people will not feel bad about saying something offensive or insulting. Political correctness does not take away our right to say what we want, but it can help prevent upsetting others.

Many people find it difficult to know what is or isn’t P. C. With so many terms that have been used over the years in so any different ways, it can be hard to keep up with. It should not be as difficult as it is to find out what to call certain groups of people, whether it be by race, ethnicity, nationality, disability or lifestyle. There should be more information out there to make it less confusing. With it being as inconvenient as it is to be P. C. , it is even more difficult to keep up with all of the new and up to date terminology. It seems as if you finally know what the correct term for something is and the next thing you know it has changed.

Hopefully, once people become more informed of what is politically correct and put that to use, this won’t be a problem. Once informed and used correctly, the misuse of the words would no longer have enough of an impact to require a change of terminology. If enough people stay more politically correct and choose not to offend others just by using the wrong term, then the wrong terms will no longer be used in a bad context, allowing for the rapid change of terminology to slow down to a crawl. Political correctness is not a law and should never be.

It should only be used to help people understand what will and will not offend people whether it was meant to or not. Being P. C. does not take away our rights and it does not impede progress. Being Politically Correct can be extremely difficult. The general public has not been informed well enough to know what is or is not P. C. One of the many things that could keep so many groups of people from hating each other and wanting to kill each other is to not offend so many, but it is cumbersome to do so when there is ignorance about what is offensive.

The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign is one of the few organizations that are out there today trying to help prevent people from becoming offended from ignorance and hatred. No matter how cheesy or cliche it may seem, being politically correct could help create more peace in the world we live in and end wars created by hate. After all, there is no need for defense if there is no offense. This is not about shoving peace and serenity down our throats by making us only say nice things.

This is about giving people the opportunity to not offend someone on accident. Of course accidents do and always will happen, but why not give people the chance to prevent accidently causing a hatred from another person or group of people. The general public should be better informed as to what terms are politically correct as well as what terms are offensive and degrading so that offending someone on accident is not an easy thing to do and so that people understand that the misuse of words can major issues in our world today.