November 05, 2003

No Offense

I paid a visit to Tongue Tied today, and their first post brought something to my attention that's been bothering me for a long time: the nature of political correctness.

Here's the basic story: students in Orlando weren't allowed to enter two floats in their homecoming parade because they weren't politically correct. One featured the toppling of a Saddam Hussein statue, and the other basically recommended that people follow Jesus.

I think both of those are great messages, but according to the article, they had the potential to "alienate" Muslims and young children, so they were banned.

I don't know how either one of those would offend children, and Muslims can handle other religious messages, so one has to wonder why they're making such a big deal of it. It seems like they're giving preferential treatment...and that's the problem with political correctness.

The goal of political correctness is to make everyone feel safe and comfortable, and the cardinal sin in PC world is to "offend" or "alienate" somebody. However, this just doesn't work. Realistically, if the entire world was politically correct, we would have to live in a pluralistic, omniracial, androgynous society where nobody could use adjectives or make any statements implying the superiority of something.

We are moving closer to this, as books like Diane Ravitch's "The Language Police" have illustrated (I really want to read that book next summer). However, there is a double standard involved. Political correctness is supposed to keep people from being offended, but what if this offends people?

Why is nobody complaining that the students in this article may feel alienated because they can't express their beliefs? They're being stigmatized, which is supposedly wrong. The only way to keep people from being offended is to outlaw all expression of opinion.

Think about it. There are so many things people used to say that are no longer politically correct because they are considered offensive (this isn't to say that some of them aren't). However, if somebody is a racist, won't they feel offended and alienated if they are labeled and denied equal rights of free speech because they use derogatory language?

Sexism is politically incorrect, so what if a manager who treats his female employees like objects and makes crude comments on a regular basis feels offended because he can't continue to do so? These things are wrong, of course, but the people who do them will still feel like outcasts if they aren't allowed to continue.

When you break it down, political correctness is really just a concentrated effort to keep people's feelings from being hurt, but it is contradictory in this way because labeling behaviors and opinions as incorrect hurts feelings as well, even if those behaviors/opinions truly are offensive.

There is another aspect of preferential treatment in political correctness that people seem to forget. Certain groups are considered more important than others, which also alienates some people. In one of my other posts entitled "How to Mess with the Thought Police," I mentioned that I'm overweight, but I don't get special protection, and I can't go crying to the authorities every time someone makes a fat joke.

Sure, it offends me, but I've learned to deal with it. In the same way, the Muslims who are supposedly offended by Jesus' name should learn to tolerate other religions, although I haven't seen evidence that they actually complained. It was just assumed that they would be offended.

People need to learn that they can't live in a giant bubble of comfort and security. Every so often, something is going to offend you, and you should just learn to ignore it. If we make everyone so sensitive that the slightest hint of bias can be turned into a huge controversy, we'll have a lot more "Rush Limbaugh" type incidents.

I think that's about all I have to say on this issue. I just believe that it's impossible not to offend anyone, because everyone has his or her (I seem to be catching the PC bug!) own opinions. If someone's opinion is considered offensive or just plain wrong, they shouldn't be forced to change it under penalty of law. Civilized debate exists for a reason.

If you have the right idea and are able to justify it with a good argument, your point will be made effectively. When political correctness is invoked, it shows that the people calling for it really haven't thought the issue through, and they're probably too insecure to make a rational case for their position.

Posted by CD on November 5, 2003 11:21 PM
Semi-Intelligent Comments

a professional, fast and reliable wow power leveling and wow gold company has been created for years. cheap wow power leveling, When you first start a game of World of Warcraft, wow gold, you will be taken to your race's starting area. Cheap World of Warcraft Power Leveling, All the races except trolls and gnomes begin in a unique location. wow power leveling Those two races have to share starting locales with the good orcs and dwarves, respectively. wow powerleveling, After watching a brief in-game cutscene introducing your race, you are set loose upon the world.

Posted by: wow power leveling at March 3, 2008 10:13 PM
< MTCloseComments old="10" >