What has come to be called “political correctness” used to be known as “good manners” and was considered part of being a decent human being. The term is now employed to write off any speech that is uncomfortably socially conscious, culturally sensitive or just plain left-wing. The term is employed, too often, to shut down free speech in the name of protecting speech.
The political correctness movement has gone way too far. While the original intent of political correctness may have been good (to encourage tact and sensitivity to others’ feelings around issues of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and such), the effect of political correctness has been to make everyone avoid these topics altogether — thereby hindering our ability to get comfortable in living and working with those who are different from us. It’s gone so far that political correctness has become a bigger problem than the problem it was intended to address!
It doesn’t really matter whether the PC Police come from the Right or the Left; the result is the same. These days everyone is so afraid of being called “sexist” or “racist” or “anti-Semitic” or some other career-killing label, that we all tiptoe carefully around diversity issues, and avoid them altogether if we possibly can.
But the question is: How are we ever going to be able to live and work together more comfortably if there’s a whole herd of elephants in the room? If we can’t talk about our feelings, fears, aspirations, anxieties, assumptions, hopes, worries, dreams, and concerns, how can we ever build trust with those who are different from us? If we can’t talk about differences that puzzle us, or things we’re curious about, without fear of giving offense, then how can we ever overcome our ignorance about cultures and races — or even the opposite sex?
If we must constantly self-censor any conversation pertaining to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical ability, then we are doomed to perpetuate the very barriers we say we want to overcome.
To those who serve in today’s PC Police, I understand that your intentions are good. But there is often a big gap between intent and impact. I would invite you to consider the impact of your censorship and finger-wagging, as well as your inclination to self-righteous, moral indignation. You don’t realize it, but you’re effectively throwing a wet blanket over public (and private) discussions of vitally important issues. You’ve gone too far in your efforts to protect everyone’s feelings. You’re essentially imposing a gag order on the whole of American society, and in so doing, you’re hindering our progress in getting to know one another and to understand others’ different perspectives, viewpoints, feelings, and life experiences.
Lighten up, please. Resign from the PC Police. Give us all a break.