Does Political Correctness Do More Good Than Bad?
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I have thought rather a lot about this and I have decided that it is not political correctness that is at fault.
I copied this off the top search from google "Political correctness (or PC for short) means using words or behavior which will not offend any group of people. Most people think it is important for everyone to be treated equally, fairly and with dignity"
I agree with this statement, in general. I think we should strive towards a world where people are mindful of other people and their views. So unless a topic is actually brought up, in which case, the person bringing it up must be aware that the other person may have differing views to them which may offend them, and as they brought it up, they shouldn't attack the other person for it; they can argue against it, they have every right to, but they can't attack the other person - because that is offensive - as you are saying that somehow your views are better than theirs, even though there is no true right and wrong in an absolute sense, only in a contextual sense.
So where do I think the fault lies? I think it lies in peoples misunderstanding of prejudice; misunderstanding of what prejudice is, and the prejudices that they themselves hold. All people hold prejudices - its scientifically proven - and often scientifically founded. I think that it is far more important to understand your prejudices so that you can be more mindful of the fact that you could offend someone unintentionally, rather than going around denying that you hold certain prejudices. And this is where political correctness fails.
I will use an example because I think it is most easily understood this way. You used feminism so I will try to cook up something from there. Although I am not intimately involved with worldwide feminist movements, though I am a woman, I will try.
Say you are at a bar with a group of your friends, and you see a terrible driver driving on the road adjacent to where you are. You say "Women drivers, hey"
Some say you will be being politically incorrect, and it is true, there may be a woman at your table that takes offense.
Were you aware you were being sexist? If so, then would you have liked to hurt someone's feelings over what you said?
If your answer to both questions is yes, then you are not a kind person, and you must accept as such. Only a few people with very strong prejudices usually feel this way - people who are overtly sexist, or racist, etc.
If your answer to the first question was yes, but the second one was no, then I would like to counter what Jesus said when he said "Treat others as you would like to be treated" - Ive always thought that a far better thing to say is, "Treat others how they would like to be treated". That is empathy; in which case, perhaps you should have said "I know it isn't true for a lot of women, but that woman is perpetuating the generalisation that women are bad drivers" - Far less witty, but I like to think it makes you sound far more worldly ;).
If your answer to both questions is no, then you do not understand your own prejudices; I have always thought that this is the most harmful of all the categories and often surfaces, ironically, in people who are fighting against a particular prejudice. People often call this "anti-racism" or "anti-sexism", but in reality, it isnt anti-anything, its just sexist, or racist, just towards a different group of people.
A good example is a comment I heard from a feminist once - I dont think all feminists would say this, but obviously there was one. "I am not incompetent just because I am a woman; you men think you are so clever". CLEARLY sexist on the part of the feminist. And yet, because of how people interpret political correctness, the man will be berated. Because people seem to have these fixed ideas on which prejudices are more harmful than others, and therefore they should be prioritised when people are being prejudiced. The truth is, in my opinion, all prejudices are equal, and epople must incorporate this into their political correctness.
So to conclude, political correctness itself isn't bad. It's just that people use it incorrectly. All it is in essence is trying to be nice to people. That doesn't mean that you can't hold or express your views if they differ from the majority or even a minority, it just means that you should do it at a proper time and place. And I accentuate time and place because I have always hated how prejudices and political correctness get mixed up with topics such as science. As far as I am concerned, this has no place in science, and it goes both ways. If a study is done on, for example, the average intelligence of the seperate races, the results are just scientific fact, so far as fact can be absolute in science; they are not racist. And in turn, science will not treat the races differently where it is not required.
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