Why political correctness is CORRECT

by eirenehogan

This is a comment to an article about Stephen Fry, on International Business Times, ‘Stephen Fry is right about our infantilised outrage culture’, By , April 13, 2016.

You can find it here, that is if you can wait long enough for it to download.  I tired to add the comment on the page but it just wouldn’t download enough for me to do so.  Conspiracy?


 

This is yet again an older generation complaining about political correctness.  What is a person saying when they say they do not want to use politically correct language?  They are saying, ‘I want to offend people.’

 

He is now a member of the ‘older generation’ who is not adapting to the changes in society, and see those changes as a negative and destroying of society.  Yes, it is destroying the society that Stephen Fry grew up in, but it isn’t destroying society as a whole, it is merely evolving.  He is complaining that he cannot use the same language he used to use, and is blaming ‘the others’ for the change in language.  He wants to still use that language and refuses to open his mind to the ways in which that language is – and most likely always has been – offensive to others.  He talks about how he should be allowed freedom of speech, meaning he should be allowed to offend someone and it is their fault if they are offended, not his.

 

He claims, due to ‘freedom of speech’ he should be allowed to express these opinions that perhaps offend people.  Certainly Mr Fry, you are allowed to express those opinions, but the reverse of that is that people are allowed to be offended by them and are allowed to complain about you saying them.  You cannot claim a right to say them under ‘freedom of speech’ then deny the right of others to complain about them.

 

This is such a common complaint by people who are not among the class of people who have had to deal with the negative abusive language, or behaviour; who cannot see how it is offensive, and therefore claim their right – as a member of society that has not experienced the offence – to use it.  It has occurred throughout history, as society changes.  We no longer live in a society controlled politically by a small group of the privileged class.  We are a democracy and that means society is finally allowed to speak up and say that there are groups in society who have always found such language and behaviours offensive and no longer want to put up with those groups in the society who think they are allowed to say what is allowed and what is offensive and what is freedom of speech.  It is not up to the ‘others’ to say ‘you should not be offended by this language’, it is up to those who are the ones who feel offended to say if it is offensive or not.

 

This is ironic coming from someone who is gay and has defended gay rights.  Let us go back to the pre-70s when it was fine to call someone a poof or faggott.  ‘Hey, I didn’t mean to be offensive, it’s just a common phrase, I wasn’t accusing you directly.  Wow, man, that’s your problem if you find that language offensive, not mine.’

 

Would Mr Fry agree to that?

 


 

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6 Comments to “Why political correctness is CORRECT”

  1. I like to call creotards creationists, cos it’s not as offensive (even though it would be for me, lol) and more likely for them to listen. A flat earther was going-on about offensive language being thrown at him. I told him, it’s wrong, but if you are chucking that much stuff out the window (like 99 percent of science) how do you not deserve it?

    • Yes, offensive language tends to destroy the chance of a well considered conversation. It is said, that once people resort to using personal offensive remarks in their argument, then they have lost the argument – because they have no other tactic to use so they resort to that. It would also be because they are feeling threantened and scared because they realise they can no longer argue their side, as the other person’s arguments make more sense.

  2. The problem with this whole subject to me is that there seems to be less and less distinction between what is provocative and what is offensive. It seems like more and more people are blurring the line between the two, and that nowadays anything that is provocative is instantly offensive. You certainly can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time, and there’s probably always someone out there who will be offended by any instance of provocative language. But, imho, there seems to be a gross over-generalization when it comes to sensitivity to language and imagery. And this is coming from a liberal young person–not a part of the older generation who simply can’t or won’t conform to the times.

    I think in general a lot of the dissatisfaction stems from the perception that there isn’t equal weight to both sides of the dynamic anymore. While it’s perfectly reasonable that free speech applies to both the offender and the offendee, the media certainly makes it appear that the law is increasingly siding with the offendees in many cases.

    Maybe that isn’t the case; it’s just a casual observation.

    • Sorry, I am not sure what you are meaning by a difference between ‘provocative’ and ‘offensive’? To me, provocative language would be language used deliberately to provoke someone. If someone chooses to use provocative language then they should accept it if people are provoked, and will then react back by indicated they have been provoked and, I guess, offended.

      As for the media supporting those who are the ‘offendees’ I don’t see that is a problem. Should they support those who chose to provoke others?

      I think again, still, your issue is that you feel at times people use language that they feel is not politically correct but others do, and they want to impose their will on the conversation, ie, say, ‘I should be allowed to use the language and you shouldn’t say I can’t. I didn’t mean to be politically incorrect so you shouldn’t see it as being that way.’ But it is not up to the person using the language to dictate how others receive it. If I am offended by what someone said, yet they hadn’t meant to offend me, then they shouldn’t tell me I should not be offended. I was. Too late. It’s happened. They can’t take it back by imposing their white, middle class, male, heterosexual values onto me. They should change their language so you won’t offend me. If people chose to use provocative language they have to accept the consequences.

      • I don’t think that the argument has ever been that people shouldn’t be offended by certain language, or that people need to try to change the way that language makes them feel, or that offensive speech shouldn’t be consequence free.

        The problem is this statement: “They should change their language so you won’t offend me.”

        Why should they do that? Are you trying to say that your values and sensitivities are better or more important than those of others? Values and morality are not universal, and they are constantly changing. I’m not prepared to dictate to others what is and isn’t offensive, because that’s often subjective in nature and quite frankly I’m not interested in telling people what they can and can’t say or think and what they should value. Saying that they “can’t take it back” by imposing their values onto you is a valid statement. But then in the next breath, you demand that people change their language to suit you, essentially demanding that you be allowed to impose your values and will upon them. To me, that’s hypocritical.

        Personally, I find a lot of religious language and imagery offensive–but I’m not about to try to ban it simply because I personally find it offensive. I’m not about to try to force people to abandon their faith and beliefs because it offends me.

        But again, my point wasn’t to say that offensive speech should be free of consequences. My point is that how we decide what the consequences are seems arbitrary. Who gets to make those decisions? Who gets to decide what is and isn’t acceptable? The majority? It doesn’t really seem right that the opinions and rights of the few get suppressed simply because they aren’t those of the majority. Does it get legislated? Does the government get to decide what I find offensive or acceptable? Good luck with that.

        • Politically correct language is not simply language that is not offensive. It is language that is not prejudicial and not denigrating someone based on their colour, gender, disability, etc.

          I am not talking about people who choose to be offensive. If someone wants to use offensive language deliberately, then fine, their choice, but they would also be fully aware that someone might be upset – after all, isn’t that really the purpose of using offensive language?

          What I am saying, is that you cannot use language with no intention of upsetting someone, find out then that apparently you did, and rather than retract and apologise, instead demand that the person NOT get upset by what you said.

          The purpose of political correct language is that the language does not offend. If you do not want to offend someone, then don’t use politically INcorrect language.

          If you are choosing not to offend someone, and yet use some form of language which the receiver of the message finds offensive, then wouldn’t you then decide to retract what you said and not say that anymore? So why do people not do that just because they have given that language the tag ‘politically correct’? They act like they are the ones who have been offended because somebody dared to tell them that they are using “politically incorrect” language. But instead of looking at the language, thinking about it, re-evaluating it, apologising to the receiver of the language, and then changing what they say, they refuse to change. That is doubly insulting to the receiver of the language.

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