Being PC: necessary for a diverse society

Donald Trump is known for causing controversy. (AP Photo)
Donald Trump is known for causing controversy. (AP Photo)

By Chelsea LoCascio
Opinions Editor

American citizens have engaged in a heated civil war over speech. The divide between the two sides continues to widen as they argue over being politically correct (PC).

Being PC has acquired a negative connotation and is severing a bond between the American people. This hatred toward being correct all the time might stem from not understanding the phrase. According to merriam-webster.com, “politically correct” is defined as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.”

Some, particularly people from the older generation, argue that Americans have become too sensitive and, as a result, have become too watchful of how they talk and act toward others. This is understandable since it can be difficult to feel like you are being yourself when you have to watch everything you say all the time.

However, why are you allowed to speak freely when the other side can’t? Sure, you can say your racist or sexist remarks, but you have to accept that people have now become more comfortable with calling out hurtful words. People of color, females or members of the LGBTQ community have been suppressed from fully exercising their first amendment rights up until very recently (and you can find some comfort in how much we have progressed by watching “Mad Men”).

If someone is offended by your speech, they should be allowed to say something, since now most people have the ability to freely speak their minds. While I don’t condone being a jerk, you can say all the offensive things that you want. However, just be open to discourse because you are certainly going to get backlash from your insensitive actions.

The only situation in which I would expect there to be insensitivity, and actually encourage it, is in comedy. Whether it be in film, television or stand up, comedy is an art form dedicated to making fun of anyone and anything. This is not a genre suited to the those who are easily offended, as you should expect crude jokes and humor meant to point out people’s differences.

While comedians and people in general are entitled to say whatever they wish, the one thing that I would strongly encourage is not making fun of people who can’t defend themselves, like the disabled. Most people who are disabled can definitely defend themselves, but a lot of them are less likely to call you out because average people don’t understand what it is like to have a disability. A majority of people don’t understand the sting of the word “retarded” or the pain of someone acting like they have a disability for laughs.

If you don’t believe it to be bad, then check out the latest of Donald Trump’s recent escapades. According to money.cnn.com, Trump made fun of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis — a disability that impairs his arm movement. In the same CNN article, a video shows Trump saying, “now the poor guy, you have to see this guy,” while flailing his arms and making himself sound stupider than normal. (Who knew that was possible?) Luckily, Kovaleski called Trump out for his actions.

Worship Trump or loathe him, but this says more about him than his political plans or business background. The presidential candidate is obviously not politically correct, which is why people love him. However, he couldn’t care less when he publicly humiliates the reporter for a disability he can’t control and I think that is repulsive.

People think that those who push for political correctness are avidly attacking Trump to take him down, but he is doing it to himself. Politically correct or not, it is about being a good person. Be empathetic and try to understand what it is like living as a different race, religion or sexuality, or what it is like to be blind, mentally impaired or just different.

It’s true that some people take being politically correct too far, but the underlying message is the same. It really just comes down to trying to be a decent human being by understanding the different types of people that make up such a diverse and complex society.

Students share opinions around campus

 

Aniyyah Maney, sophomore accounting major.
Aniyyah Maney, sophomore accounting major.

“You don’t want to offend people and hurt their feelings. I think it’s important (to be politically correct).”

Justin Brach, freshman finance and political science double major.
Justin Brach, freshman finance and political science double major.

“Our culture is too politically correct… I wish we were more comfortable with one another and more accepting of other people’s cultural practices.”