The Instigator
repete21
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points
The Contender
KevinL75
Con (against)
Losing
24 Points

Political Correctness has been taken too far.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2007 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,028 times Debate No: 421
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (19)

 

repete21

Pro

Although I believe that every person should have equal opportunities, I believe that people take political correctness too far, and are too easily insulted.

If you walk into Wal-Mart, you wont here "Merry Christmas", or "Happy Hanukkah", but rather, a simple, hello, or just "Happy Holidays", I am not saying being inclusive is a bad thing, what I am saying, is the PC (Politically Correct) people have made it impossible to show your personal views, and run a business, and made corporations fearful of being exclusive.

There is no arguing the fact that Christmas is a day of the year, and that you can celebrate Christmas, without being religious, in fact, Christmas has become more of a commercial, holiday, where we anticipate "Santa", and presents, than a religious holiday.

So what is the harm behind a greeter saying "Merry Christmas"? You can have a Merry Christmas, without believing in Christ, and to say that it is an insult, is, in my opinion, a pathetic cry for attention. If you celebrate Kwanza, or Hanukkah, feel free to say, "Thank you, and a Happy Kwanza to you." It is outrageous that people can not express themselves, for fear of lawsuit, or loss of customers.

The terms "Christmas Tree", and "Merry Christmas" have become taboo, in public schools, for fear of an uprising by PC people, and there is no longer "Christmas Formal", but rather "Winter Formal Dance". It is foolish that these words cannot be used, do to not being PC, and even more foolish that people are offended.

I think that people have taken the defensive on being political correct, and should show how good their holiday is, if they want to make a point, rather than trying to destroy other peoples holiday, and that corporations, and individuals alike should feel that they have the freedom to express their opinion, regardless of which side of the holiday spectrum they are on.
KevinL75

Con

The first thing I'd like to point out here is that you're implicitly treating Christmas (and to a lesser extent Hanukkah) as the default holiday in the United States. Let's take the example of Wal-Mart:

You say that when we walk into Wal-Mart, instead of Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, we hear Happy Holidays. I think we can safely presume that the decision to make "Happy Holidays" the default greeting was made by someone either in charge of an individual store, or in charge of the whole chain.

If Wal-Mart doesn't use Happy Holidays, what should the standard greeting be? Should it be Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Non-Denominational Gift-Giving Day, or what? It's true that to some extent political correctness is adopted out of fear of alienating people - the greeting Happy Holidays encompasses all of the other potential default greetings. Why shouldn't we err on the side of being inclusive?

You seem to be making the argument that individual employees should be able to say whatever they want in terms of a holiday greeting, but companies have all sorts of employee conduct standards designed to minimize offensiveness and maximize inclusiveness. Why can't Wal-Mart standardize a holiday greeting, but it can standardize a dress code?

There is also an argument to be made that public entities like schools have an obligation to be as non-denominational as possible, and that under certain circumstances, the things you're advocating for could legitimately offend, but I suppose that's what the later rounds are for!
Debate Round No. 1
repete21

Pro

First of all, thank you for accepting this debate, secondly, you seem to have latched on to the Wal-Mart example. So I will start there. I believe that greeters have the right to say what they believe is a proper greeting. Also, you have stated that they try not to be insulting, on the topic of both school, and Wal-Mart, and I would like for you to explain how people can be insulted for being "excluded", and I would like to break our minds free from strictly focusing on large corporations such as Wal-Mart. I can understand Wal-Mart, who has stores across the globe, wanting to be inclusive, but only because they MUST do it to keep certain PC customers happy. What I don't understand, is why small business has to play non-denominational music, and avoid the term "Christmas" at all cost, simply for fear of an uprising, rather than because they will lose customers. I would like for you to explain how the term "Christmas" is exclusive, it is on every calendar, and is recognized across the globe, regardless of Christianity or lack there of, it IS A DAY, and people should be complimented to hear "Have a nice day", its the same thing, so how can you possibly be offended by "Merry Christmas"? And yes, I am partial to Christmas, but I have heard MANY other greetings, and rather than throwing a fit, I simply say, you too, why can't this be the global standard? Why can't people take the offensive of supporting their holiday, rather than the defensive, of destroying someone elses? If Jewish, or Muslim, or African Americans want a more respected holiday, they need to take the offensive, and show the rest of us how good their holiday really is.
KevinL75

Con

Wal-Mart seems to be the most talked-about example when it comes to this subject, but we can certainly branch out. Let's put Wal-Mart aside as a global corporation, and focus on schools and small businesses.

I think schools are in an entirely separate category here - public schools at least. Public schools are funded and run by the government, which has an obligation in the U.S. to not endorse any religion. Public school is a place where children are required by law to be (note that many children don't have the choice to be home-schooled or attend private school because of financial circumstances.) In a place where children are forced to be, I see every reason to steer clear of religion altogether. There are so many things that make kids different from another in school - those things lead to cliques and bullying - why should we make religion available as just another dividing factor between schoolchildren?

Now onto the small business example. I don't believe that every small business does adopt a Wal-Mart-esque P.C. policy, but certainly some do. I do not, however, think it's ridiculous that some small businesses choose not to mention any specific holiday over another. Why risk offending a co-worker or customer when it can easily be avoided?

Which brings me to ways in which "Merry Christmas" can legitimately be offensive. I do realize that Christmas is an extremely secularized holiday to most, but there are still many who associate Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior. To someone who adamantly believes that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, it may legitimately be offensive to wish them a Merry Christmas - after all, it's a holiday dedicated to someone who embodies beliefs they do not hold.

This group of people is certainly in the minority, but that's not a reason to take their beliefs lightly, or say that they're being over-sensitive.

Finally, I'd just like to point out that this - "If Jewish, or Muslim, or African Americans want a more respected holiday, they need to take the offensive, and show the rest of us how good their holiday really is" - is just a very strange thing to say, and makes entirely too many assumptions, generalizations, and factual mistakes (since when was being African American a religion?)
Debate Round No. 2
repete21

Pro

First off Kwanzaa is an African American holiday, just so you know, and no, African American heritage is not a religion. Moving on to public schools, students should be able to celebrate whatever holiday they want, if they want to celebrate Hanukkah, they can feel free to do so, just as Christians celebrate Christmas. I also agree that schools shouldn't teach religion, or affiliate themselves with religion, but they could respect the fact that it exists, we claim to be a "Cultural melting pot" but yet, we cannot recognize our culture, or recognize the culture(s) of the student body. I think that the students should show their holiday(s) in school as celebration, and respect, and that they can do this without forcing their views on someone else. Moving on to your offensiveness argument, any non-Christian who sees Christmas as a 100% Christian holiday, is either very closed minded, or has spent their whole life in a cave, you cannot seriously believe that people think that Santa is related to Christianity, after all, Christmas is a Pagan holiday, which has nothing to do with Christ, even though it is shared with Christians. Moving on to small business, we are obviously referring to two different types of small business. What I am talking about is the family owned gift shop with maybe two, or three employees, in a small town, the ones that are more worried about quality, an expressing themselves than getting rich, and I am saying that they shouldn't have to worry about offending anyone.
KevinL75

Con

Sorry, what I meant was that it's incorrect to assume African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa the same way Christians celebrate Christmas. But that's beside the point.

In your original post, you were criticizing schools for doing things like changing the name of a Christmas dance to a winter formal. That has nothing to do with students expressing their religious views - that's something officially coming from the school. I agree with you that when it comes to students expressing their own views, schools should remain neutral. However, I do think that schools should err on the side of being non-religious when it comes to things like the dances you're talking about. If a school hosts a Christmas dance, don't you think that there may be at least a few students who think they can't come if they don't celebrate Christmas?

Christmas isn't a 100% Christian holiday - it's been commercialized and secularized more than any other holiday I can think of. But that's not what I said - I said that some people associate Christmas with the birth of Christ as the Lord and Savior. That doesn't mean they don't associate it with other things as well.

For those people, being told "Merry Christmas" is a religious thing, and they may feel uncomfortable that idea, just like a lot of people are uncomfortable with evangelism (though I'm not directly equating the two.)

I'd like to close with a general note about being "sensitive," and not just as it applies to political correctness. I absolutely hate it when someone tells me to "stop being so sensitive," when I'm offended by something. Most of the time the person doesn't truly understand the motivations for why I'm offended, but let's assume they do, and they think it's a stupid reason.

That's great that you think it's stupid for me to get offended, but I'm the one taking offense, I'm the one that actually cares one way or the other - it doesn't matter to you either way. Why is it such a bad thing to make a conscious effort to offend as few people as possible, even if we think those people are overreacting? The way I see it, it's no skin off my back to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," and if I can avoid skin off someone else's, then it's a good thing.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by ian5463 9 years ago
ian5463
dude, no this is a pc world gone too far. people are WAY to sensitive and think that they're entitled to having the rules of how we speak and advertise in public rewritten for them. Suck it up, if youre jewish and are offended because someone is nice enough to great a complete stranger with marry christmas. Serously, smoke some pot and chill out
Posted by Rillion 9 years ago
Rillion
It's hard to have a debate about whether people should say something that will offend others, or not. Whether you consider the offense justified or you don't, it's ultimately up to that person (or business) whether they want to incur the cost of offending someone who wants them to say "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays," or vice versa. Personally, I think people who are offended by either one are probably pretty easily offended, however I would prefer that my store say "Happy Holidays" and I prefer to say "Happy Holidays" to people whose religious identification I don't know, just to be inclusive.

Businesses generally want to be inclusive, to make as many of their customers happy as possible. To that end, it's better for them to say "Happy Holidays." However, if you're a business with a significant base of customers who absolutely cannot tolerate anything but their specific holiday being acknowledged by name, it might be economically pragmatic to cater to them. Squeaky wheels, and all that.
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