Why Political Correctness is Failing the World
umair haque

Re: Why Political Correctness Is Failing The World

The terminology to which the author objects is nearly all specifically related to the transgender community, a small but growing group struggling to define itself and educate others both online and off. It follows that those terms be new, politically correct — consider the alternative — and as complex as those individuals who make up that community.

The greater purpose of most of those terms is to create linguistics for a burgeoning movement and ideology to which most of the world is still becoming aware.

The impulse to create linguistic frames is hardly exclusive to the “new leftist” (the author’s own defining term.) “The war on terror,” “right to life” and “the homosexual agenda” are just a few linguistic frames generated by the right, all of which defined salient aspects of neo-conservatism far more than the terminology the author quotes serves to define the left, “New” or otherwise.

And if this post is in fact more about political correctness than the transgender community, it wholly ignores at least one elephant in the room — the outrage that, on the American campaign trail, “radical jihadists” has become the PC nom de plume for terrorists, rather than characterizations of terrorists that include “Islam” or “Muslim.” (The reasoning here is that the US is not engaged in a war with Islam, which, despite what some fear-mongering conservatives would have us believe, is simply correct.)

Political correctness was created on the premise that language is powerful and that changing it could, over time, change attitudes. PC represents a bare minimum for public speech.

Unfortunately, it has also created a string of euphemisms successfully leveraged by intolerant types which make their bigotry less transparent.

Still, let’s eschew that bare minimum for a second and see what happens. We have a great example of the effect, seen in the American media most every day.

Right now, the Republican frontrunner employs political incorrectness to appeal to voters. He calls Mexicans rapists, suggests the #BlackLivesMatter movement is something to be beaten down, promotes a registry for Muslims that sounds not at all unlike that used by Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto.

And he’s wildly popular.

The author suggests that PC is failing us. He also calls it a sort of branding, “marketing by people, to people,” which is a really great articulation.

But, like the ebb and flow of slang, the language of politically correctness is hardly a new phenomenon. Whether its words grow in usage or fade is up to the world and the web.

While words alone will never be enough to foment positive change, political correctness at its best strives to reflect a basic decency, a cultural standard, an ideal.