By Cole Cahill
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has brought political correctness to national attention. He recently said that he “doesn’t have time for political correctness,” and that “this country doesn’t have time, either.”
People are now speaking out nationwide, labeling political correctness as “language policing” and claiming that it serves no purpose. These recent advocates don’t represent the noble cause that they claim; in fact, they represent ignorance and a general lack of understanding of the concept of political correctness as a whole.
Without political correctness, phrases like “retard,” “slut,” and “anchor baby” reduce incredibly important conversations to jokes and name calling. An intense negative connotation turns these words, which are descriptions of perfectly acceptable characteristics, into insults. Whether or not they are used to put down people who fall under the descriptors doesn’t matter; they load words that should be harmless with negativity, and project the idea that being any one of those things is wrong.
Instead of fostering a meaningful dialogue about issues like immigration, gay rights, and women’s rights, these politically incorrect terms serve to offend masses for no apparent gain.
Simple offense, however, is not the worst of the problems. There are important conversations to be had and shared with the groups of people that are marginalized by political incorrectness. By bringing language that directly demeans individuals into impor tant conversations, political incorrectness immediately send the message that they are not welcome.
Such phrases shut already oppressed groups of people out of valuable discussions entirely, because the discussions themselves are dehumanizing.
Political incorrectness is not harmless; it further pushes out those who are already being disregarded. It completely eliminates a whole range of voices from the very issues that need their input.
Under the First Amendment, it is your right to say “that’s so gay.” But that has no relevance in deciding whether or not the phrase should be tolerated socially. The answer is that it should not; such language hurts individuals, groups, and this country. Strides can’t be made forward if we are still using racial slurs daily. They can’t be made forward if we demean minorities with every opportunity we get.
It will take effort to make adjustments to everyday language. It will take time. But not only is it courteous, it is necessary to a healthy democracy. Check yourself and make the change––it’s well worth the benefits.