It’s gotten to the point where whenever I see the term “politically correct,” I kind of just read it or hear it as “educated.” It’s a really handy tool. Here’s an example.
Someone says, “Things are too politically correct these days.” All I see is, “Things are too educated these days.” See how simple that makes it?
When people complain about things being politically correct, they’re complaining about the nuances of what it’s like to be living in a modern society. They yearn for the days when they could just talk about people as being “wetbacks.” Like Republican Don Young did recently. Young can’t be bothered to learn or understand how terms like “wetback” or “spic” are actually harmful to certain communities—until it threatens their political careers. Then they learn really quickly what other people have learned steadily over the last 50 years:
Language has a force to it, and using it to denigrate entire communities has real world, legitimate social effects. Every time we use words like “wetback” or “spic,” it reinforces the notion that there are “real Americans” with names like Young and “fake” Americans with names like Rodriguez or Gonzales.
This isn’t “political correctness.” It’s education and understanding, and it applies to just about every situation where groups of people are being targeted as homogenous entities. The kind of people who want to lazily talk about “the blacks,” or “Muslims,” or “the gays” as singular groups are the same kind of people who complain about things being “politically correct.” They can’t be bothered to understand the complexities of today’s America, especially the complexities of what it’s like to not be in the majority. And so they lament how other people are forcing them to confront the fact that saying things like “the blacks whatever just need to work harder, then they’ll succeed” has been and continues to be an incredibly stupid way of looking at how a society works. It’s not that simple now, and it never has been.
It used to be okay to respond to women who report rapes as though they were lying or making things up. It used to be okay to look at a woman dressed a certain way and say, “Oh, she deserved it.” It used to be okay to say, “If my son’s gay, I’m sending him away” (my father said this about me once—threatened to send me to Texas when we lived in NY). It used to be okay to call men with earrings “faggots.” (Score another one for my father! He called me that when I put on a fake, magnetic one to judge his reaction.) It used to be okay to compare gays to pedophiles. It used to be okay to say, “Hey look at that successful, talented woman over there. She’s really attractive!” It used to be okay to suggest that the way for women not to become pregnant was to keep an aspirin between their knees. And it used to be okay to say:
“There is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects—certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.” – Abraham Lincoln
But those things aren’t okay to say anymore, and it’s not because they’re politically incorrect: it’s because they’re staggeringly ignorant and ignore the real inequality that so many people in this country face on an everyday basis.
“Stop being so politically correct.” = “Stop being so educated.”