“Political correctness is simply a speed bump in the traffic of truth, free thought and speech.â€ ~ Anonymous
Speed bumps are one of the banes our existence. But they are absolutely necessary. Some people, like myself, don't slow down that much over them, preferring to get it over with in one bigger jolt than to slow down for two lesser bumps.
My quote today, however, compares 'political correctness' to speed bumps on the road of free thought and speech. I think this is a good comparison for two reasons.
The Good: Speed bumps force us to be less careless about others in the pursuit of our goals. They alert us to the fact that others have the right to life, liberty, and property just as we do. We share the earth. Speed bumps don't prevent us from getting to our goals, they just make us a little more considerate.
The Bad: Sometimes, speed bumps are too large, and can do more damage than good. Sometimes they are not labeled and take us by surprise, failing to tell us to slow down until it is too late. And sometimes, they are put where they are just not needed, but someone felt the need for control.
Here are a few useful definitions of 'political correctness' to think about. Let's ask ourselves – are we exercising concern and respect for others in attaining our goals? On the other hand, are we stifling free speech because we have become staunch moralists for our pet causes, which we deem are 'more important and sensitive' than others?
- Suppressing the expression of certain attitudes and the use of certain terms in the belief that they are too offensive or controversial.
- A trend that wants to make everything fair, equal and just to all by suppressing thought, speech and practice in order to achieve that goal.
- The concept that one has to shape their statements (if not their opinions) according to a certain political dogma
- Avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against