The Pitfalls of Political Correctness

I think it is pretty clear that, over the years, we have become a much more politically correct nation.  We try to avoid saying something offensive towards a particular group or groups of people in an attempt to maintain civil, polite debate amongst ourselves.  This is perfectly understandable; civil debate is always more desirable than both sides slinging insults and derogative terms at each other.  However, what started as an honest attempt to eliminate offensive language and frame debate in a more civilized manner has become a means of silencing one side of an argument.  As one side has been deemed “politically correct”, the other is branded as hateful and is dismissed without consideration being given to any merits that side may have.  Political correctness has transformed from a tool of social justice to a means of limiting free speech by silencing all dissenters and shaming them into conforming with what is generally considered to be inoffensive.

The most common examples of this are the abortion debate, gay marriage, and issues of race relations.  When it comes to the abortion argument, pro-lifers are constantly forced to go on the defensive as they are accused of wanting to deny women their right to make choices about their own healthcare or of being sexist or of forcing their religious views on others (many pro-lifers cite their faith as one reason they oppose abortion).  The argument is already in the favor of the pro-choice side because of the stigma attached to the pro-life stance.  It is not politically correct to make such suggestions about women’s rights and so, regardless of the fact that the pro-life argument does not involve women’s healthcare (see my post about Texas’ abortion law for more details), it is dismissed as sexist or old-fashioned.

Much the same thing can be found in the gay marriage issue.  Since it is politically correct to consider everyone equal (which just about all Americans do), anything that could be considered as infringing on that equality is automatically frowned upon.  Once again, the argument is framed in favor of those who believe in gay marriage at the expense of the other side.  As a result, anyone who supports traditional marriage is accused of being homophobic.  And, once again, the opposing argument is dismissed without a second thought.  The whole point of supporting traditional marriage, that marriage is an institution defined by the church and that the government cannot make any law regarding the definition of the institution, is missed entirely in favor of assigning a label to the argument and attempting to force the “politically correct” view upon the church.

Finally, and perhaps most notably, political correctness prevents just about any meaningful discussion with regards to race relations.  It used to be that only derogative language and other insults were politically incorrect thus leaving plenty of room for honest discussion.  Now, most any criticism of a minority group (I’ll use the black community as an example) is considered racism regardless of the intent behind the criticism or the merit of said criticism.  The real problems are ignored while an issue is made out of what could hardly be considered racist.  For example, black-on-black and black-on-white crime is much higher than white-on-black crime, and yet what do people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson focus on whenever they get the chance?  They focus on people like George Zimmerman, who, while not completely innocent (see my post on the George Zimmerman verdict), was most likely not racially motivated given the fact that he both voted for Obama and started a business with a black man.

Meanwhile, two black teenagers in Kansas who murdered a white kid because they didn’t like white people never got any attention except for local news coverage.  Meanwhile, rampant black-on-black crime in places like Detroit and Chicago doesn’t draw the attention of Reverend Sharpton.  Instead, Sharpton and Jackson refuse to even address the issue and see no real reason to do so, and anyone who tries to say otherwise is accused of being racist or of ignoring the “real” problem (that white people are racist).  The focus isn’t on the problems the black community face.  The focus is instead on the problems supposedly put on the black community by white people.  It has gotten to the point where intelligent conversation is next to impossible without it devolving into a white vs black argument.  That’s what political correctness has done to our society.  Political correctness has made people fearful to speak their minds because of the potential repercussions.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that we should still be respectful to each other in regular conversation and in debate.  However, political correctness threatens the very nature of debate by silencing, or at least negatively stigmatizing, one side of the argument.  It focuses on one little aspect of someone’s argument, exaggerates an honest opinion with just as much merit as the other side, or ignores the actual point of what is being said.  People should be able to express their views without fear of being accused of being sexist or homophobic or racist or otherwise hateful.  I’m pro-life, but I don’t think of women as inferior.  I support traditional marriage, but I don’t hate homosexuals.  I believe that there are problems within the black community that need to be addressed, but I’m not racist.  I think people should be able to express their religions freely in public, but I don’t want to force Christianity on anyone.  It’s time people realized that dissent does not equal hate and that, if you really want to be politically correct, you should listen to and consider all sides of the argument.

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2 Responses to The Pitfalls of Political Correctness

  1. Actually according tot he department of Justice white on white crime is a lot higher than black on black crime.

    • jaketleech says:

      True, but I never mentioned white-on-white crime. What I was getting at is that a black person s more likely to be killed by another black person than anyone else yet when a black man is killed by a white man, the media act like white-on-black crime is an epidemic. Furthermore, trying to point out that minorities aren’t always the victims, like Jesse Jackson would have you believe, makes you a racist in their eyes. It’s true white-on-white crime is higher and that needs to be addressed, but at the same time we shouldn’t act like black-on-black crime is not a problem.

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