It all started from an article referenced by my girlfriend via a mutual friend of ours, that I am just going to assume doesn’t want his name mentioned. The article explains exactly what I couldn’t put my finger on when it comes to political correctness. First of all, political correctness (PC) has its place in the world and does bear a bit of a necessity. What we don’t need is an overuse of PC to the point where we are no longer exchanging ideas, but rather ignoring them.
Being politically correct is defined as, “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people,” according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. In theory, this is an exceptional idea. We don’t want to go out of our way to offend anyone when it is not necessary, necessity being the keyword. As usual we should take everything with a grain of salt and understand that nothing is truly black and white.
In order to survive in our society with relative peace we, as a whole, moderate the things we say and do to minimize conflict. This is a healthy and natural social instinct of ours. When your significant other asks you if their outfit makes them look fat you obviously know what the wrong answer is. A simple enough lie and exclusion of possible truth to keep the peace, without serious detriment to the relationship. In the valley of intellectual discussion though, our thoughts are meant to be reverberated on the mountainous walls that surround us.
Like with many things in life, to grow means to struggle; to cause damage and then repair. When an athlete goes to the gym he lifts weights, which injure his muscles. He then returns home eats food and rests, coming back stronger and more confident. Our intellect works in much the same way. We open our mind to ideas that shake the very values we hold dear. We absorb these ideas. We contemplate, and then we contest them. We are strengthening our minds by allowing our values and ideals to be tested. In essence allocating time to be damaged and come back with a stronger and broader understanding of the topic.
If we allow PC to rule our ability to intellectually grow we have in effect closed our minds. Not entirely because we feel so strongly on a topic, but rather it scares us that our views could change. By that concept, one could be interpreted as cowardly. We all experience fear and naturally wish to be comfortable. A conscious decision to take yourself out of the comfort zone, to me, is a sign of intellectual bravery. For that same reason, I don’t think anyone can live in constant discomfort hence the need for PC.
Time and place are the dictating factors for which we should discern whether or not to use PC and at what level PC is appropriate. Understand that if we follow logical debate and avoid argumentative fallacies we can negate a large amount of offense in the first place. Maintaining a level of neutrality in your communication will also limit the amount of turbulence. When discussing sensitive subjects, how you approach a topic is important, and blatantly ignoring sensitives is just plain lazy. Being upset that you have to put forth effort in your communication to me appears childish. It, of course, takes time and practice in order to more effectively and efficiently follow these guidelines, which means we have to engage one another. I don’t claim to never commit the crime of fallacy, I do try my best not to, but like I said it takes practice. Be fearless people, and accept the challenge ahead of you. Be offended and engage those who challenge you. Open your mind and embrace a discussion, but do not initiate this with an individual disinterested in such a discussion. This in my opinion is the best way to guide yourself through the overuse of PC in our world today.
Time and Place…
^^^^ What I consider to be the top ten logical fallacies.
Again, thank you for reading! I love you all!