What is “political correctness?” I’ll tell you.
It’s a red herring. It’s a distraction.
It’s a way of undermining the potential danger and hurtfulness posed by real insensitivity. When someone refers to a term as “un-P.C.” they’re really saying, “I don’t say this word because it would be contrary to my political/social benefit.”
And when someone attacks another person for using “P.C.” language, what they’re saying is “I would much prefer it if you just used the nasty and insensitive version of that word, please, so I can attack you for THAT.”
What this means is that ultimately, being “politically correct” is about selfishness. This defeats the purpose of eliminating painful, hate-charged language from the public lexicon.
I don’t tell women to “get in the kitchen” or “make me a sammich” or avoid using words like “retard” or “kike” because I’m selfishly thinking of my own desire to avoid embarrassment or marginalization.
I avoid saying these things because I truly believe most people deserve better. These words and terms hurt real people about whom I care or about whom I might one day care. I honestly trust that using hateful language perpetuates hate and undermines real progress made by real people who matter.
So here’s the takeaway: Avoid invidious language that prolongs outdated mores or insinuates a real disregard for the worth of another person.
But don’t do it because it’s in your self-interest to do so. Do it because it means something and teach others to do it because all people deserve basic respect.
This post is brought to you by Sam.