It is perfectly understandable that conservative thinkers regard “political correctness” as contentious, but not for the obvious reasons.
Firstly however, let’s characterize the term properly; as an oxymoron!
Politicians per se tend to bend, extend and contract the meanings of words to suite their own tastes, whereas this can’t really be done in the case of the word “correct” because it is by its very nature, binary.
Something is either correct, or it isn’t; yet the political method at its best demands shades of “correctness” and hence the oxymoron.
If it is bad English or not; and irrespective of that, conservative thinkers seem to love the term, yet they are often highly skilled haters of its popular meaning.
It is purported as an oppressive force that impinges on the ability of a person to speak their mind truthfully and colorfully if they so choose. One that subtly, corrosively causes performance anxiety because the speaker is always acutely aware of supervision or reproach should they step out of line.
At worst, it is seen as a form of institutionalized bullying because its champions have pervaded social power structures and are now raining their misguided influences over the otherwise unencumbered citizenry.
These are just some of the multiply layered meanings that the term “political correctness” has evolved to encapsulate; certainly in the minds of “conservative thinkers” but also to a large extent in the eyes of others.
Ironically, while it is currently the “go to” term of conservative thinkers, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the words were first substantially uttered in their present context by a civil rights activist; Toni Cade Bambara, a prolific African American author, feminist and community activist of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
A BRIEF SOJOURN: If you are a “conservative thinker” and you’re reading this, please persist as you will be duly rewarded for your tolerance shortly.
Then the New York Times handled it with a scathing rebuttal of the emerging “P.C.-ness” movement and perhaps justly so. “A rose by any other name is a rose just the same” and radicalism is no different whichever side it’s on; the enemy!
However, let’s not forget that at its roots, the “politically correct” movement of that time; though impolite was in response to the harshness of many heinous antecedents. Too many in number and too awful to mention!
So now, again with extreme irony, it is the beloved belonging and battle cry of conservative thinkers, who use it lavishly to assert their freedoms and for countering any criticisms of their often disrespectful characterizations of others.
Disparaging non conforming women as “Bitches”, homosexuals as “Poofs” and foreigners as “Wogs” are some examples where those who take offense are conveniently branded as being unreasonably “politically correct”.
For this reason, in my opinion, the words; “political correctness” can’t be removed to ancient history too soon. Aside from being bad English, they’re completely unnecessary. Let’s omit them all together!
To the void left by their absence might return one of the most primal forms of human to human engagement; Respect!
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