Carstens: Political correctness harms society

Courtney Carstens

A poisonous left-minded ideology has seeped its way into the American way of life and is constantly infringing upon our basic right of free speech and the growth of society. Political correctness, or P.C. as others may call it, has made our society and even members of our generation too afraid to voice honest opinions. They are too afraid to share their anxieties, hopes and concerns without fear they may offend somebody, to be called a bigot, or a whole host of other names.

In return, this ideology has harmed society and the precious natural rights that we as Americans hold near and dear. In many ways, we are oppressing ourselves with this new way of thinking.

BJ Gallagher, an inspirational speaker and human relations expert, author and writer for the Huffington Post stated, in the most effective way that I’ve seen, the extremity of the situation and how if we let it persist we will have only ourselves to blame for the consequences.

“How are we ever going to be able to live and work together more comfortably if there’s a whole herd of elephants in the room? If we can’t talk about our feelings, fears, aspirations, anxieties, assumptions, hopes, worries, dreams and concerns, how can we ever build trust with those who are different from us? If we can’t talk about differences that puzzle us, or things we’re curious about, without fear of giving offense, then how can we ever overcome our ignorance about cultures and races — or even the opposite sex?”

By voicing our opinions, not only do we learn from one another, but we also learn what is socially acceptable and it’s how we build knowledge about our world. We trade ideas and from them we learn what is most important. Learning influences positive growth in a society — which America needs — and things like political correctness will do nothing but ruin it. Political correctness ruins the growth of education in society as well as limits our freedom of speech.

Despite the fact that we think trying to tiptoe around everyone from every sexual orientation, gender, race, religion and any of the other categories will help make everyone feel included, we are actually creating a façade of a culture. We don’t really know how people are feeling or what they are thinking because they are too preoccupied with not offending someone.

Not only does political correctness cause all of these fears, but it seems that one group may call another group, perhaps a group of privilege, an offensive term and not be ridiculed by it — but if the situation would be reversed then all hell would break loose.

An extreme example that has been used in shows like “The View” is the example where African-Americans can call Caucasians “crackers” and they will get little to no backlash for it. But, if the situation were reversed to where a Caucasian called an African American the n-word, that person would be called every bad name in the book.

It’s not that I encourage anyone to use offensive terms toward someone of another race, gender, etc. I have simply noticed that our society has arrived at a place where being politically correct has transformed into being hypocritical. The parties in the aforementioned situation both had the right to use these words because free speech is within their rights as Americans, but one is attacked for it and viewed as a bad person.

Political correctness needs to stop being used in situations where it is not called for, in situations in which we are only doing it because we think we may offend one person somewhere. It’s in doing this that we can encourage people to use their free speech and further our world and understanding of each other.

An article in The Economist explained that, “It’s tempting to think there would be less violence in the world if everyone refrained from insulting everyone else. But criticism — even misguided, prejudiced criticism — is a necessary ingredient of debate and deliberation.” To add to that, debate and deliberation are also vital toward a successful use of free speech. With political correctness, we lessen the frequency of honest debate and deliberation, a key ingredient in discussion and free use of speech.