The Good, the Bad and the PC

Political Correctness has little to do with becoming a better person, unless of course you're running for office.

In today's society, we've come to live each day in fear of the Politically Correct. These are those well meaning people who, like a lion who's been too long between zebras, are ready to pounce on each and every syllable we utter should it offer even the most minute risk of slighting some special interest group. Since there appears to be an organization for just about any interest you can think of, we're well on our way to eliminating every single word and phrase in the English language until there's nothing left but grunting.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful to include and respect each and every person wherever possible. That said, there are no words which can adequately express how much I'd like for all of this politically correct nonsense to disappear in a puff of smoke. It's one of those insidious trends that does much damage, under the false pretense of doing good.

Being politically correct has nothing to do with equality or respect. It came about as an observation of the practices commonly employed by politicians running for office. Each and every word is weighed not against the value of the sentiments, but against the possibility that it might cause controversy and risk losing votes. So, the speeches are pared down to the lowest common denominator. Any phrase that survives is deemed "politically correct" because it's low risk.

Eventually, this attitude was picked up in the corporate world as well. Company literature and statements were toned down to provide plausible deniability. The underlying goal was to avoid saying anything that someone could take issue with.

Of course, once the ball was rolling, the fad seeped into the consciousness of the general public. Since they saw this behavior in elected officials and then in every form of media through advertisements, news, articles and programming, they assumed that this was simply the proper attitude to support. To do otherwise risked incurring the wrath of peer pressure, that great social equalizer. Consequently, we now live in a society where being politically correct is mistaken for being a good person. To deviate from this philosophy is considered rude and inconsiderate.

Although it's advertised as such, this shallow, spin doctoring fad does not lead us to a way of life where all people are valued and honored. Instead, it trains us to avoid speaking in an honest and forthright manner and places a premium on insincerity and vague generalities. That's great if you're running for political office, but the character and integrity of the professional politician isn't exactly the role model I'm looking for in my life, or the kinds of people I want to call friends.

Does inequality, intolerance and unfairness exist? Of course it does. However, instead of being told to address the issues, make the hard choices, and work to become better human beings, we're instead admonished to eliminate key words or phrases from our speech so that we appear to be better human beings. That's right. The focus isn't on actions. It's on appearances. And that's the problem. Political correctness is phony.

Don't let society pressure you into becoming something that you're not. No matter what people tell you, if you choose the politically correct path, you're not learning to become a better person. What you're really learning is the art of manipulation that's practiced by the shallow, insincere, or politically ambitious.

Forget about talking the talk. Learn to walk the walk. The true measure of a person is how they behave in the real world, especially how they treat other people. Instead of becoming paralyzed through the constant second guessing of which words to choose and which words to lose, put your actions in the spotlight. If you're looking for social validation, nothing comes close to the status attained by the honest, sincere, and considerate person. You can't spin that. You have to live it.

General Articles