Political Correctness

Hannah Savage Hannah Savage
America is a melting pot, we all know that. So to avoid hurt or negativity between people of different races, backgrounds, genders, religions, etc., we have tried to create terms that are meant to minimize offense. These include terms like:

African-American instead of Black/Negro
Native American instead of Indian
Firefighter instead of Fireman
Visually Challenged instead of Blind

There seems to be a pretty big divide in if trying to be politically correct is really correct. Does it create more harm than good? Has it gone too far? Is it the best we can do to protect those that are offended? Does it harbor further division between races/religions/sexes/ etc?

(I know that even the term 'politically correct' may not be, well, correct... But that is what I know it as. If you know it as something else, feel free to share. I've enabled private voting to try to avoid any negativity.)
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
I support the idea of political correctness.
20  (12%)
I do not support the idea of political correctness.
28  (17%)
I kind-of support the idea of political correctness, but I think it has gone too far.
100  (60%)
I kind-of support the idea of political correctness, but it hasn't gone far enough.
1  (1%)
Other-ness.
17  (10%)
Total votes: 166
Poll is closed
09/21/2010
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Victoria Victoria
I voted 'Other-ness'

Here's the thing about PC terms / phrases - most of the time, rephrasing something is an effort to make it more inclusive, more clear, and less dated. All of those intentions are good. People just want to communicate clearly.

As for things becoming "Too PC" - in my opinion, it's not usually the words themselves, it HOW people use them.
09/21/2010
Jenn (aka kissmykitty) Jenn (aka kissmykitty)
I pretty much second what Victoria said. For the most part, people are PC for the right reasons. But when people aren't PC for the right reasons, or there's just a lot of awkwardness surrounding it, things can get, well, awkward...
09/21/2010
Avant-garde Avant-garde
I don't really agree with political correctness it tends to make me engage in an involuntary protein spill.
09/21/2010
El-Jaro El-Jaro
I try to be polite and mindful of others' feelings and beliefs...but agree with George Carlin from time to time.
09/21/2010
Madeira Madeira
Quote:
Originally posted by Hannah Savage
America is a melting pot, we all know that. So to avoid hurt or negativity between people of different races, backgrounds, genders, religions, etc., we have tried to create terms that are meant to minimize offense. These include terms ... More
I use mostly politically correct terms, but mostly I use the terms preferred by members of the community. I also prefer gendered terms in general to non-gendered ones because if you can give more information with a single word why not do so? Like firewoman instead of female firefighter?
09/21/2010
gone77 gone77
To be brief, political correctness gets a huge thumbs-down from me.
09/21/2010
~LaUr3n~ ~LaUr3n~
Quote:
Originally posted by gone77
To be brief, political correctness gets a huge thumbs-down from me.
Agreed.

Most often it isn't even correct and still offends a large amount of people. I could debate this forever.
09/21/2010
Sammi Sammi
Often the terms used are incorrect as well and/or can vary in different parts of the country, which can lead to more problems than less.
09/21/2010
Gary Gary
I am fully in support of treating people with respect. Political Correctness really annoys me. It's like trying to do the right thing but for all the wrong reasons.
09/22/2010
Hannah Savage Hannah Savage
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary
I am fully in support of treating people with respect. Political Correctness really annoys me. It's like trying to do the right thing but for all the wrong reasons.
I totally agree. I think that being polite, to the best of your knowledge, is what matters.
09/22/2010
Victoria Victoria
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary
I am fully in support of treating people with respect. Political Correctness really annoys me. It's like trying to do the right thing but for all the wrong reasons.
It all comes back to sincerity! I agree
09/22/2010
Viktor Vysheslav Malkin Viktor Vysheslav Malkin
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary
I am fully in support of treating people with respect. Political Correctness really annoys me. It's like trying to do the right thing but for all the wrong reasons.
Gotta agree with Gary on this in'

Although you know I gotta ask everyone, Since when did Firemen become"Firefighters"?
09/22/2010
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by Hannah Savage
America is a melting pot, we all know that. So to avoid hurt or negativity between people of different races, backgrounds, genders, religions, etc., we have tried to create terms that are meant to minimize offense. These include terms ... More
It's funny but most of my African-American friends would rather be called black or people of color. Most Native Americans would prefer to be called by their tribal names or simply Indians (The word indian is a corruption in spanish meaning roughly 'People of God' or 'People beloved by God'). The gender specific titles should be used I think. If someone is blind or deaf why can't we say blind or deaf...I would think visually impaired or hearing impaired would indicate an inability to see or hear clearly.
I like Differently Abled instead of handicapped since most people I know who have a 'handicap' ARE abled in some other area to make up the difference. Just seems like a more truthful term than anything else.
09/22/2010
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary
I am fully in support of treating people with respect. Political Correctness really annoys me. It's like trying to do the right thing but for all the wrong reasons.
I think this is where terms get tricky. I am hearing that you (and many other people) associate political correctness with saying the right thing just to be "progressive" or something, without actually caring about why it's important to say this or that word over another. This seems to be a popular understanding of the term, which makes me sad because to me, political correctness is the opposite. It's an honest commitment to thinking about how your language affects and either harms or validates the people around you.

Really, it's not "political" correctness, it's just correctness. It's not correct to call a Native or Indigenous person an "Indian" (unless they personally identify that way) because they aren't from India. Nothing political about it, it's just a more accurate phrase. It also doesn't perpetuate the several hundred year old ignorant assumptions of white colonists who basically thought all brown people looked the same (hence Natives = Indians.)

Also, regarding the original post and the examples given, a lot of the vogue "PC" terms used now are actually kind of ignorant. For example, I would never walk up to a Black person and assume I knew their ancestry. If you call a Jamaican "African American" they may be pretty damn offended because they are NOT. They are from the Caribbean, not Africa. Again, not every dark skinned person is the same, and it's about acknowledging those difference. I just use Black until someone requests I used a different word. I know a girl from Ghana who lives in the United States but does not call herself African American, but simply African. It's more a political thing and a pride in her heritage. So yeah, there's no single term that's going to validate everyone's identity, it's just about trying to find a term that will be as unoffensive to as many people as possible.

And after that? It's about being flexible and open to making mistakes and being wrong and correcting yourself. This is where the genuine aspect Gary is talking about comes in. If you genuinely care about respecting identities, you will be willing to change your language around a little to not hurt or harm people. And willing to admit saying something hurtful. I have had to apologize many times for making assumptions or being ignorant, but you just say sorry, move on and do better next time
10/12/2010
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Viktor Vysheslav Malkin
Gotta agree with Gary on this in'

Although you know I gotta ask everyone, Since when did Firemen become"Firefighters"?
Since women fight fires, that's when If I were a Congressperson and someone ever called me a Congressman I'd be like "Um. 'Scuse me? Don't think so."

I checked your profile and see you're male and that you enjoy sports. If you were playing hockey with some friends and someone said "That Viktor Vysheslav Malkin, he has such great sportswomanship!" wouldn't you be like "Um, what?" Imagine how I feel everytime someone talks about MANkind and fireMAN and mailMAN and CongressMAN and blablabla. It's like I don't exist.

lol, again, it's about respect and accuracy. You are a man, I am a woman, no reason we can't respect both of these facts at the same time. Neither gender needs to be centralized.
10/12/2010
Dusk Dusk
I agree with political-correctness, but sometimes it just doesn't work or people don't learn enough about why it's important to really care. For example, I called a friend african-american one day, but she's actually a black Londoner. Oops.

On the other hand, I think it helps minimize the unnecessary harm we do to other people when we say things.
10/12/2010
Riccio Riccio
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
I think this is where terms get tricky. I am hearing that you (and many other people) associate political correctness with saying the right thing just to be "progressive" or something, without actually caring about why it's important to ... More
I agree, since language shapes our perceptions. No need to add more; you have said it clearly.
10/26/2010
Hannah Savage Hannah Savage
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
I think this is where terms get tricky. I am hearing that you (and many other people) associate political correctness with saying the right thing just to be "progressive" or something, without actually caring about why it's important to ... More
I guess for me, where I was raised, it was the "correct" term to call a Black person African-American. After all, that's what it says in all of our school textbooks, doesn't it? So after years of schooling and continuously reading "African-Americans", it feels like I am saying the "wrong" thing by calling someone Black or Negro. I guess it all depends on where/how you were raised.

I just think that trying to create terms for people that are more "peaceful" or what have you, only creates more of a problem. An issue out of a non-issue, let's say. For example, my white coworker said that it's wrong for us to say that Nude is a color because her boyfriend is black and Nude isn't Nude for him.

Not everyone is going to want to be referred to by the same term, and I don't think it's wrong for whomever is using the term to be chastised for it. I will say African-American until someone says that they are Carribean, Black, what have you. I don't think offense should be taken by using that term, either.

Was just curious to see other peoples' opinions on the matter.
10/26/2010
El-Jaro El-Jaro
Just to toss out a point:

"Negro" is black in Spanish (maybe Portuguese too). It's just language...
10/26/2010
Matheri89 Matheri89
Language can be very strong. Teenagers (and some adults) freely use words such as "Gay", "Fag", and "Retarded" to describe something they don't like. As long as this is the case, we may need better language. Little known fact: In the early 20th century, the terms for various degrees of mental retardation were "idiot", "imbecile", and "moron". Those words quickly took on the connotation of negativity, leading to a lower degree of personhood.

I personally think we should use person-first language. Instead of "Disabled person", I use "Person with a disability". You wouldn't call someone with cancer a "cancerous person", would you? This puts the person before the characteristic in terms of importance.
10/27/2010
Avalee Avalee
I support the idea of political correctness but African-American is worse than Black/Negro in my opinion.
11/13/2010
Cadence Cadence
Just a small blurb about a personal experience: I once referred to a person as being African American in the presence of one of my African American friends. She said to me, "You can call us blacks, no need to get all sensitive about our skin color."
11/23/2010
Anne Ardeur Anne Ardeur
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
It's funny but most of my African-American friends would rather be called black or people of color. Most Native Americans would prefer to be called by their tribal names or simply Indians (The word indian is a corruption in spanish meaning ... More
Specifically the 'blind' and 'd/Deaf'* points, since I don't feel qualified to point out the rest - the definitions of 'legally blind' and 'legally deaf' both include people who may still have some vision or hearing. But with the words 'blind' and 'd/Deaf', the word association for the vast majority of people is someone completely without senses of sight or sound, which isn't correct for everyone. "Hearing impaired' and 'Visually impaired' attempt to encompass those individuals and the varying range of ability that exists.

As a couple of people have already mentioned, a lot of the 'PC' terms are/were attempts to incorporate everyone who identifies (or should have a right to identify if they so choose) with the term, and often they're so awkwardly worded/incredibly vague because they're trying to be inclusive to a large or varied group.

And, as Matheri points out, some of it is attempts to re-claim identities that have strong negative connotations in today's language, and to re-center the person who the term is describing, and not the term/illness/disabilit y/colour/etc itself. I don't think there is anything wrong with that


* Deaf with a capital D being those who self-identify as part of the Deaf community; deaf with a lowercase d being those with an audiological impairment - "hard of hearing" - who may not necessarily be an active part of Deaf culture or identify as such
11/29/2010
Adriana Ravenlust Adriana Ravenlust
Quote:
Originally posted by Hannah Savage
I guess for me, where I was raised, it was the "correct" term to call a Black person African-American. After all, that's what it says in all of our school textbooks, doesn't it? So after years of schooling and continuously reading ... More
Who's to say it's a non-issue?
11/29/2010
Pleasure Piratess Pleasure Piratess
You know... I take no issue with trying to be proactive and changing terms that are offensive. But sometimes, I think this creates more issues unto itself.

My son is in preschool this year, and as parents of a very small community (talking population less than 200 in city), we were upset to find that our children would not be allowed to celebrate any holidays; this was adopted by the state so as not to offend people of other religions. Well.. I can understand that, even if I don't really like it. But they aren't allowed to celebrate anything.. including American holidays such as 4th of July, memorial/labor day, etc. Why? Because we might offend other nationalities.

I just wonder, at what point did our attitudes change from having pride in our own religions/ethnicity/cu lture/etc and having tolerace other peoples, change to having to ignore those things that give us such pride?

On a lesser note... since it 'tis the season... I have a great politically correct song! lol Kung Pao Buckeroo Holiday
12/01/2010
Kim! Kim!
Quote:
Originally posted by Pleasure Piratess
You know... I take no issue with trying to be proactive and changing terms that are offensive. But sometimes, I think this creates more issues unto itself.

My son is in preschool this year, and as parents of a very small community (talking ... More
My son's preschool is the same way. I get the point but I'd rather they taught them about a variety of holidays and customs so that things don't seem as foreign and weird to them. That's where problems tend to come from. If children grew up learning that differences are to be celebrated, then perhaps there would be fewer issues as they grew older.
12/01/2010
Anne Ardeur Anne Ardeur
Quote:
Originally posted by Kim!
My son's preschool is the same way. I get the point but I'd rather they taught them about a variety of holidays and customs so that things don't seem as foreign and weird to them. That's where problems tend to come from. If children ... More
This is something that's so strange to me to hear about in North America. When I was a kid, in my English primary school we 'celebrated' - or at least acknowledged/learned about - important days from a bunch of different religions: Lent, Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover, Diwali, Beltane, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Obon... probably more that I can't remember.
12/01/2010
Lady Neshamah Lady Neshamah
this is a fine line. some of the terms are fine in the communities that they are about. but in the end, i think it's up to each person with what they are comfortable with and what they like.
12/10/2010
just a sub just a sub
i only want to point out that native american and indian are actually two completely different terms so thats not about correctness. some one who is indian is from well india. some one who is native american is a native of america
12/10/2010
Total posts: 78
Unique posters: 69