In Defense of Political Correctness

by Brendan Beery

Donald Trump’s theme at Thursday night’s “debate” was that we don’t have time for political correctness. Whatever that means. It seems that the need for us to communicate with one another with sensitivity and common cause is so pressing that we can’t possibly do it with sensitivity and common cause.

How many times do we have to hear some bloated, pasty, white-bred ignoramus whine about the whininess of political correctness? (Oh, I’m sorry, was that politically incorrect?) “I’m sick of all this PC,” blah blah blah. Well you know what the rest of us are sick of? We’re sick of you bellyaching about how sick you are of all this PC, blah blah blah.

Someone who spends all his time ranting about the evils of political correctness is someone who can’t make it through the day without insulting somebody else. Usually the insults are based on immutable characteristics, to boot. It’s one thing to elbow somebody for a fault or a bad choice; it’s quite another to mock somebody for his or her ethnicity, gender, orientation, identity, religion of birth, citizenship status, etc. Those are not things that can (or should have to) be changed, and they are the roots of almost all inhumanity and discriminatory animus.

And here’s the thing about jokes about immutable characteristics: they’re not funny. They’re just mean.

I recently unfriended someone on Facebook who had posted a photo of a dog overlaid with the words “Caitlin Jenner’s cat.” Cute, right? Except it’s not. What followed that post was a lengthy thread of comments that reeked of tribalistic disdain, disgust, and fear. When you “joke” about something like gender identity, you’re not inviting thoughtful good cheer. You’re beckoning the ignorant masses to crawl out of the woodwork and stink the place up with all their ideological vomit.

People who value political correctness are often accused of being “thought police.” Nonsense. First of all, it’s a bit ironic for those who troll the speech of others for hints of political correctness to accuse others of trying to control speech. But more to the point, people who edit themselves so as not to offend others are not policing others; they’re policing themselves. To be politically correct is simply to apprise oneself of the lives, experiences, and sensibilities of others.

In other words, political correctness is an act of selflessness. (And the anti-PC crowd teems with narcissists.)  It’s not more important that I be able to say whatever thought might develop in my addled brain than that someone around me not have his or her day ruined by another dumbass, mindless, hurtful harangue.

I once had an African American student roll his eyes and shake his head when I said in class that we could debate a certain point “until we’re all blue in the face.” When I used that phrase, I did so innocently – it was just a figure of speech. But I guess I’m politically correct, because I’ve never used that phrase in conversation since. If even one person finds it offensive (and I get why one person did), is it really that hard to say “until the cows come home” from now on?

What kind of person would hang onto “blue in the face” with all the ferocity of a cornered skunk? What kind of person couldn’t just let it go?

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One thought on “In Defense of Political Correctness

  1. I totally agree. Being politically correct is another way of showing manners. Manners are how we show others that we respect them. The statement that one does not have time to be politically correct is the same as saying you do not have time to respect others. I think we could all use a good dose of kindness, compassion, and respect for one another.

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