Political Correctness: Necessity or Nuisance?

Photograph from Pixabay

“10 years ago, there was no such thing as being politically correct.”

“I wish we didn’t need to always be so PC, it’s not fun anymore.”

The act of being ‘politically correct’ has changed vastly in the past few years. Especially in a new age where language is fluid and more pervasive, people have taken the idea of being politically correct to the extreme. For me, being politically correct means being mindful of all groups, ethnicities, and individuals. To some, it means nitpicking. To others, there is no such thing as being ‘politically correct.’

In an era highly publicized and media- ridden, all of our actions are scrutinized by those around us. Especially in 2017 with the new presidential administration, words and language have shaped how we view the world. With the president calling all Mexicans “rapists” and calling Muslim “terrorists,” excuses for such ‘generalizations’ (or blatantly incorrect assumptions) allow for more of the world to normalize it as a whole.

“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct,” Trump answered, to audience applause. “I’ve been challenged by so many people, I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

To be very honest, I believe being politically correct is both a necessity and a nuisance. While addressing and confronting problematic language is always something that is essential to being a good human, many people have called the idea of correctness “liberal fascism” due to its nature of needing to enforce a narrow and ideologically motivated view of what it means to be an ‘educated member of society.’ Those that essentialize then become the problematic set within those that are politically correct. For example, associating every action a man does to be sexist/patriarchal is problematic. Everything cannot be politically correct, just like how not everything can be correct.

“Political correctness, in which public officials are careful to avoid language that alienates or offends, requires a certain type of expressive competence.” – Mark Hannah, TIME Magazine.

It then becomes a sense of respect. Correcting yourself when you assume one’s gender wrong isn’t an inconvenience, it’s just like how you correct yourself if you say someone’s name wrong. At the same time, however, if you constantly find yourself assuming everything is sexist, racist, homophobic, etc, then your idea of being politically correct may just be another form of policing.

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Dana Chen is a teenager living in Orange County, California. She is very passionate about feminism, woman's rights, and gender equality. Dana is also the captain of her school's debate team and loves to debate, spend time with her family, and play the violin.

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