It’s Not Being Politically Correct, It’s Being a Decent Human

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Here’s the thing: there is nothing political about political correctness. Oxford Dictionary defines the phrase as, “The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” By definition, being politically correct is essentially just being polite. It costs zero dollars and zero cents to use proper terminology to refer to someone or something.

Being politically correct and being considerate to others should be a given. It should be natural to use respectful language around others. The more respect one shows, the more respect they will gain in turn. Being more open minded creates a space in which everyone can feel welcome. Any minority attribute is not a dividing feature, but rather a conversation point.

Now, this is not to say that the deniers of political correctness are totally incorrect. They may say that it’s too much work, but sometimes it’s worth putting that work in to make someone else feel comfortable. Another common argument is that people are afraid to express their opinions without offending someone. Well, if that’s the case, it’s pretty likely that that opinion is a prejudice that no one called out before. Refusing to embrace political correctness is just a cheap way of avoiding empathizing with people or learning about others. The opposite of political correctness is not truth. Avoiding political correctness is expression that is careless and insensitive towards the beliefs and attitudes other that one’s own. This alternative is a culture of vulgarity and insensitivity, and we need to choose what kind of people we want to be and what kind of world we want to live in. It would become easy to fall into habits of attacking other people due to refusal of political correctness rather than having intelligent conversation. Differences become a distraction, not a talking point. It’s easy to shout about how liberals are taking free speech and ruining America, but this is just a scapegoat to avoid bigger issues.

The founding fathers promoted free speech because they knew how important it was. It’s just as important to show that we are advancing as a society by combating words of prejudice with more emotionally competent expressions. It’s not being politically correct, it’s being a decent human.