Political Correctness gone… sane?

11/05/2011 at 11:21 pm (Uncategorized)

“Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, religious belief, disability, and age-related contexts, and doing so to an excessive extent.” – from Wikipedia.

Political Correctness. It’s a term that automatically raises the hackles of the community at large. Think about about what it means to you. I can guarantee the first inclination for many is, “Political Correctness doesn’t let me speak my mind.”

I decided to write this post based on a story that I read today. It was about a young boy who decided to make a stand against a peculiar loophole. At his school he wasn’t allowed to wear shorts, yet girls were allowed to wear short skirts. As a protest, this lad decided to wear a short skirt. I say fair enough. Now, take a look at the story, and the comments (if you’re patient, they’re some way on in the comments now) underneath.

First thing that struck me was an outpouring of comments about the “PC brigade” having its nose put out of joint by this lad’s brave stand. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but surely a boy wearing a girl’s attire is the very epitome of Political Correctness? It’s essentially saying, “as a male I can dress by the same rules as a female.”

I don’t want to hold up a child as a focus for a political point, but the attitudes of this story’s commentators highlighted something very interesting. Do people actually know what Political Correctness is? I think it’s a term that’s thrown around to act as a frame for “stuff I don’t like the idea of.”

I have no problem with the perception of being “PC”. The ironic thing about those that rally against this concept always talk about politeness. Guess what, politeness is a two way street. No, it’s not acceptable to call someone queer, pikey, darkie, paki, mongal. It’s not Political Correctness, it’s manners and intelligent behaviour. It’s navigating your way through life as a socially responsible human being.

We do tell off-colour and sick jokes to our friends now and again. It happens. But I’d like to think that I know that some audiences for a joke are not going to find certain things as funny as others might. I don’t blame Political Correctness, I just guage what’s acceptable.

I hope, and can very well imagine, that the term PC won’t be around in 10 years time. But then, can we get past belittling people to hover above our own insecurities? Because that’s all I see those that rail against Political Correctness doing.


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