Politically (in)correct to the brink of impropriety
Are people merely becoming too sensitive? Or is political correctness a necessity in order to make everyone feel included, to feel equal?
During the 6:00PM local news one evening, the anchorwoman and the meteorologist got into a small argument over the word “snowman.” Both were women, and one found the term to be offensive while the other thought people were just getting too sensitive.
Last week, in a class discussion surrounding Robert Pickton, one of my fellow classmates made a rather bold comment using the term “hooker.” And of course, one out of 40 students was unfailingly offended, prompting a heated argument about how insensitive he was, and how offensive his words were. Then another classmate spoke up in his defense stating, “I don’t think he was trying to be insensitive, he was just stating his opinion, with a poor choice in wording.”
With its roots in Marxism, political correctness can easily be viewed as a form of psychological oppression. Has this concept driven us to become speechless? We constantly have to mentally evaluate what comes out of our mouths. At times, our sentences become fractured with pauses because we have to stop for a good 20 seconds and think, “wait, can I say that?”
People can take offense in everything you say, each word you speak is scrutinized beyond belief. That fireman? Is now a firefighter. Those women? Are now womyn. A simple Merry Christmas? Has become Season’s Greetings. Words and phrases that were once acceptable are now deemed racist, sexist, and homophobic among other things. When meeting someone new, when addressing an audience, when voicing any opinion at all, you have to be so careful now in order not to offend anyone, because yes, that’s right, you could be sued. Someone will always find offense in what you say if you are not careful.
And this of course, brings me to our eloquent right-wing extremist friend, Ann Coulter. Ann, what are we going to do with you? Offending every minority group that the rest of us tip-toe around, desperately trying to avoid upsetting. "Converting all Muslims to Christianity?" "Perfecting all Jews?" Now, that’s just not nice, breaking every rule of political correctness—and laughing all the way to the bank.
In all our Canadianness, we, on the other hand, strive to please everyone, to show that we are gender neutral and multicultural. We’ll go so far as to consider changing our national anthem. But really, does that make anyone feel more empowered? More included? More equal?
So what do we do? Either we continue our laboured, awkward speeches, apologizing after every other word, or maybe we can forget it all and play a nice, friendly game of cowboys and Indians.
Sorry, I meant to say white colonizing oppressors and land-thieves and Native Indians, or First Nations, or Aboriginals or…uh… what did I mean to say?
Interested about learning more about the history of political incorrectness? And if you have a moment, take some time to brush up on your political correctness.