By CHRISTINA QUACH
In theory, being politically correct sounds perfect. By avoiding topics that offend minorities, not only can it nip problems at the bud, it can also be a form of representation for the silenced.
However, political correctness is losing its true meaning. Nowadays, because of the need to fight for justice, people readily accuse others as being politically incorrect. Now, political correctness is no longer about respecting the oppressed anymore and is rather rapidly shying away from topics that will offend minorities and avoiding things that will offend everyone. Because people are becoming brutally intolerant of other opinions that do not line up with theirs, political correctness is essentially promoting bigotry.
The problem with suppressing hurtful ideas is that people are under the assumption that their opinions reflect the guidelines for what is offensive and what is not. Evidently, there are lines that should not be crossed regarding certain topics. However, the line is different for everyone and for every topic. With no perfectly objective way to measure what is considered harmful, people rely on popular beliefs that arise. This creates a bandwagon effect as people are easily influenced by the majority.
Moreover, with the overwhelming desire to “attack injustice,” people eagerly attack and label others as racist or sexist. This inclination tends to outweigh a person’s desire to have an accurate and correct understanding of what is happening. People fervently jump to conclusions with illogical reasonings, because they want to believe that mislabeling or stereotyping is occurring.
One of the most common examples of this is using misogynistic and sexist interchangeably. While both words are similar— misogyny is related to the contempt of women, while sexism is about the discrimination of both sexes —they should not be regarded as synonyms. Surprisingly, a large amount of people confuse the two and happily label derogatory comments misogynistic. This not only causes inaccurate accusations, but it also spreads misinformation, which encourages more witch hunts against “politically incorrect” people.
The most well-known example of misusing information is President Donald Trump. When confronted about his misogynistic comments towards Rosie O’Donnell (calling her fat, ugly and a slob), he disregarded being labeled as misogynistic by insinuating that if you insult just one woman, it is not considered misogynistic. However, the textbook definition of misogyny is the “hatred or prejudice against women”. Regardless of whether he insulted one female or many, it is still considered misogyny.
Furthermore, due to the overwhelming backlash from those who do not share the same opinions as the majority, people are too afraid to construct differing opinions. From the fear of offending someone to the witch hunts that tend to ensue if someone expresses a different opinion, it creates a sense of censorship by encouraging people to brush past sensitive topics.
Additionally, conforming to a common belief creates a more close-minded society because of the lack of varying perspectives. People essentially become less receptive and accepting of other opinions, hindering societal growth. People are becoming less understanding of differing stances because they prioritize the condoning of offensive behavior over trying to understand the reason why it is offensive in the first place. In consequence, it restricts people from fully grasping the reason why they were wrong. It is, instead, normalizing a herd mentality.
Despite its good intentions, political correctness has developed into a defense mechanism against any opposing and unpopular opinions, causing more negatives that outweigh the positives. While it is beneficial for people to stress the need for diversity, they tend to forget about the importance of unity.