Political Paranoia: pro political correctness

By Maggie Monson

Political correctness is an important part of being respectful of other people and their walks of life.
It’s not about constantly walking on eggshells to make sure you don’t offend anyone. If someone goes through his or her life without offending a single person, he or she must not have said very much at all.
However, it is about respect, acceptance and understanding. People should not just say anything they want to anyone they want, because other people’s feelings matter.
Being politically correct is about respecting the fact that we might not understand everyone else’s backgrounds. Offending someone with offhand language is unnecessary and often can be easily fixed.
It’s easy to dismiss political correctness as being superfluous or ridiculous because there can be so many different phrases and actions to think about.
America has a history of excluding people who seem to differ from the “norm.” Racism, xenophobia, and ignorance have played a part in many aspects of America’s past.
The next generation is in a position to be the change we need. Children do not benefit from growing up in an environment where they are taught words that do not really matter. Words hurt more than anything.
Some people take political correctness too far. The law shouldn’t be involved when it comes to politically correct language and actions. Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental aspects of this country. Suing over these things is a waste of the court’s time.
However, there is no doubt that the world is still mired in ignorance and hatred, two things political correctness fights.
Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America Sept. 15. Davuluri is of Indian descent, according to a September article on today.com. Immediately following her victory in the competition, Twitter exploded with racist comments.
Twitter users connected Davuluri with terrorist groups, called her a foreigner and insulted her heritage.
One user tweeted, “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets Miss America?”
The color of her skin has nothing to do with whether she is American. The multitudes of offensive and inaccurate tweets, which have since gone viral, show the hatred and bigotry that still exist in America. These people clearly do not understand cultural sensitivity.
Even though their opinions might not reflect those of the majority of the country, the fact that people still think this way shows the necessity of politically correct language.
Until the world can accept people have a variety of skin tones, religions, sexualities and beliefs, we need to be cautious in the way we speak.
Another example of the insensitivity of our culture is the words “gay” and “retarded.” They have very clear meanings in today’s society, despite their meanings in the past. “Gay” means homosexual today. “Retarded” implies a mentally handicapped person. These words cannot escape those connotations any time soon.
Althought the intent might not be cruel, these words are insulting.
There are significant groups of people who are hurt by the culture of the indifference these words create and reinforce.
There is no way to not offend everyone with words and actions. However, simple things like avoiding cruel words or wishing someone “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” shows a willingness to accept other people and their lifestyles.