Political Correctness: the low-key prejudice

Dear everyone who gets offended by non-politically correct language,

Made with imgflip.com
Made with imgflip.com

It seems that nowadays we live in a society that is constantly seeking to be offended —as if offence were a drug, and political correctness the needle.

Before I continue, I am aware that my stance on this issue might be considered controversial by some, so I want to clarify that I believe in the fair and equal treatment of all and that is why I’m writing this article.

Firstly I’d like to address your reaction towards objective physical descriptions of certain individuals:

The idea behind political correctness (P.C.) is to avoid language that could exclude or offend minorities or groups that are socially disadvantaged, but more often than not, it is actually yourselves who feel insulted.

What you don’t seem to realize is that, by getting offended by the physical description of someone, you are only creating more stigma around the individual. You are giving words like “black” the same negative social charge that “sex” had many generations ago—as if there was something wrong about it and it was not be spoken of.

In order to be inclusive of everyone, we need to stop being completely oblivious to the fact that that is how they are and that’s OK—in other words, a black person is black, a Chinese person is narrow-eyed and a quadriplegic person is quadriplegic. If anything, P.C. shows discomfort and acts only as a disguised taboo.

I’m not only writing this so that we can say “black” with the same ease we say “white”, I would also like to touch on your approach towards one of our natural resources— humor— as I believe P.C. has corrupted it.

While you might argue that humor is only a way of justifying “unacceptable behavior”, I like to take Agnes Repplier’s side on the argument: “Humor brings insight and tolerance(…)”.

Your constant condemnation of any humor you deem offensive, means not only that people feel they can’t joke about certain health conditions or physical limitations; but most importantly, they feel forbidden to joke around people who have these conditions (about anything… at all).

What this has created is a society in which the only “acceptable” way to talk to people with limitations is with a pitiful tone and a straight face.

But why should it be that way? Who wants to feel like they’re bad news? And why should someone who’s already going through a tough situation have to be deprived of a light environment and a sense of humor?

When you censor your sense of humor around someone, it means you’re treating them differently, and it is when you treat them differently that you’re being exclusive.

My point is very nicely illustrated by the film Intouchables: a real-life story about Philippe, a rich quadriplegic man who hires a live-in carer with whom he develops an amazing friendship born from the appreciation of non pitiful or compassionate, but rather equal treatment—reinforced in no small part by his laugh-at-life sense of humor.

made with imgflip.com
Actual joke from the film. Made with imgflip.com

Political correctness won’t cure a boy with cancer or give legs to a girl who’s lost them. Neither will humor—but it can change your attitude about it.

This is not the solution:

Original image found on http://www.perceptivereality.net/chapter-2-the-most-profound-thing-happened-today.html#/. Modified with ArtRage Studio Pro
Original image found on http://www.perceptivereality.net/chapter-2-the-most-profound-thing-happened-today.html#/. Modified with ArtRage Studio Pro

To create an equal, inclusive environment—to remove all stigma, we must talk about “minorities” in the same way we talk about “majorities”; we must be comfortable using the language that P.C. considers offensive. Language that  in some cases members of these minorities commonly use themselves; we must laugh, and accept being laughed at; and last but not least, we must love.

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