Dr. Traci Klass
5 February 2015
Mistaken by Political Incorrectness Language is power and freedom, which people have the tendency to abuse. As a society, people can mistake malicious words as being politically incorrect and disregard others feelings for being different. To formulate the words which are translated from a person’s thoughts, considering other people’s feelings, is a powerful process. Perhaps, the interpretation of the speaker’s mind came out all wrong in the process of verbal transformation? Does the listener take offense to your message or do they dismiss it as if they are superior to you? At times, debates can escalate into a heated argument amongst peers, then suddenly it is said- the profane word that haunts the mind of the speaker in the moments that follow. There is a silent pause in which both parties ponder their next move. Suddenly, the recipient of that profane slur declares that he or she is offended; then, the guilty person apologizes for being politically incorrect. Is this individual actually erroneous in his or her language choice? The speaker has the choice in which words they choose to reveal his/her thoughts or ideas, just as the speaker has the choice to accept offense or not. With that said, the columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. from the Miami Herald says it best, “Language should let you say what you mean, but if what you mean is mean-spirited, we ought not diminish that by calling it simply politically incorrect” (7). Pitts implies that language is used to translate thoughts into words, but if the person’s thoughts and words are ill conceived, then don’t blame it on political correctness; the person is just being plain old mean. Regardless of whether or not the victim of profanity cares about political correctness, he or she can decide that in aftermath. There is a certain respect given to other human beings that dictates acceptable behavior while being politically correct. It takes effort to find the right words to be perceived as correct by the standards of society. Author Kenny Moran’s article on “Political Correctness Means Common Decency” asserts, “Political correctness is recognizing that words are choices that affect other people. Political correctness is caring about how those other people feel, and trying to make an effort to take others’ feelings into account in determining how to speak. Put bluntly, political correctness is not being a jerk” (12). Moran illustrates the traits of common decency when it comes to language and how to consider other people’s feelings and interests while engaged in conversation. For example, introducing a couple of friends to someone new can be a delicate situation when the friends are in a homosexual relationship. The politically correct formal introduction of a gay couple is to use the word “and” to join their first names i.e. “Meet Name and Partner Name”. Imagine how rude it would be if it was said, “this is ‘blank’ and his/her gay friend” in the introduction? Many would consider this manner of speaking to be quite indecent! To avoid any awkwardness, choose to initiate conversation with words that are politically correct thus allowing the recipient’s response according to their position on the subject. I maintain a true understanding for people that are discredited for his/her race or sexual preferences in society. It takes a person of maturity to respect the propriety of the politically correct words in a society where common decency isn’t so common.
In a way, participation in politically incorrect behavior may present a false image of the individual as simple minded or uneducated. For instance, the word ‘nigger’ has historical meaning and for a person to throw that word around must not understand the pain and anguish that comes with that word. In his message to Chris Rock, Pitt’s encapsulates how the comedian uses the “N-word” and how his choice of words undermines the speaker and his message. Pitts compares him to an…