Political correctness is not a downfall


Chris Cox

Senior, Leah Newhouse

Leah Newhouse, Managing Editor of Design

When I scroll through Facebook, one of two things happen. I am either overcome with joy because Doug the Pug just got a new pizza costume, or I am enraged by a political post that I greatly disagree with. With elections just coming to an end, the latter of the two unfortunately occurs most often.

One of the most recent posts that I have been opposed of was a picture with the American flag faded in the background and something like, “Political correctness is the downfall of American society” written across it. Political correctness is not the downfall of society. Instead, it has helped American society progress.

When you Google the definition of political correctness, the first explanation that pops up is, “(political correctness is) the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” In a shorter version, political correctness is the act of not offending minorities.

This one Facebook post is not the only one I have angrily scrolled past. I have encountered many posts similar to this on other platforms of social media, inferring that political correctness has overtaken our society in a negative way. But, where would we be today without it?

When we look back to when America was born and now, about 94 percent of the time, this country was legally segregated. (Trust me, I did the math.) Although segregation was abolished in 1964, racism still occurred throughout the next decades. However, because political correctness became more well-known and practiced in the late 80s and early 90s, society began to become more aware of the effects of racist, sexist and homophobic comments and jokes. Political correctness became the hot topic in the New York Times and in political comics. Commercials were displaying the tolls of racism among families, which opened America’s eyes to the necessity of political correctness.

The idea of political correctness has become even more profound in our society today. Those who oppose this idea say that our society, especially millennials, are too oversensitive and that we all have thin skin. According to a poll taken by Pew Research Center, 59% of people say “too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use.” Although I agree that some of us are a little bit too sensitive (Including myself. I have seriously cried because Doug the Pug is so adorable), I don’t think that the reasoning behind that is because of political correctness. The reason why today’s millennials are easily offended is because racial slurs, demeaning phrases towards women, and other derogatory language is still used in our society.

One of the most recently known public figures that is openly against being politically correct is our new President-elect Mr. Donald J. Trump. According to Reason editor Robby Soave, one of the reasons Trump won the election is “because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.” Trump has stated multiple times that he does not care that he is politically incorrect and uses this as an excuse to be discriminatory towards groups of people who are not white, male and wealthy like himself.

To me, political correctness is mostly just a fancy term for being kind to one another, regardless of the other person’s ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or possible disability. Why would anyone think that being civil towards others is the “downfall of American society?”

The absence of political correctness would cause racism, sexism and homophobia to be so much more prominent in today’s society than it already is. Without showing tolerance towards one another through the acts of political correctness, gay rights wouldn’t exist, women would be less equal than men and there would be even more hate crimes towards religious and ethnic groups. Political correctness has given us the ability to look past all of the labels put on people which have blinded us in the past. Not to be politically incorrect, but shouldn’t we have gotten past this already?