Political Incorrectness and It’s Impact on Language

Is there something wrong with the way we are looking at language? I think so. And it is causing this fear of politically incorrectness. But really, what is politically incorrectness when you break it all down?

It is “not avoiding language or behavior that could offend a particular group of people.” What language then do we deem offensive as a whole? Is it possible some are not as easily offended as others, thus creating this separate sphere of language that has less restriction? I believe so. The issue is people have different life experiences, depending upon where they live, their family dynamic, their education, economic status, and social status. So depending on their experiences, their emotions can dictate what is deemed offensive. From an outsider,this person would appear irrational and too sensitive. Who’s wrong? Is the person easily offended wrong? Or is the person who is not easily offended wrong? No one is necessarily wrong but I would say spending life offended by words taken out of context might cause emotional stress. Being sort of triggered by certain words, is something that needs to be addressed on an emotional level.

Political correctness has gone too far in my opinion. It had at some point turned into an attack on writing style. Those who speak direct, to the point, are often labeled insensitive. Those who write facts, statistics, without much emotion are labeled insensitive. If someone gives a speech, in an informal way, directly speaking to the crowd at times, some take it as uneducated fragments. The real reason for that kind of tone is to be engaging as well, rather than just read a formal speech on a piece of paper putting everyone to sleep. We should embrace differences in approach, because no person is alike. There are different writing formats (MLA, APA) for a reason, different fields for a reason, and different writing styles for a reason.

I believe emotions are affecting the way we use language. The pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction and people have become self conscience of their every word in order not to offend anyone. Ever offend someone with a word you thought wasn’t offensive? Ever have someone come up while you are mid conversation with someone else telling you, you are incorrect without knowing the context? It happens. But in all honesty, if people listened more and reacted less these situations could result in clearer communication. Too often I see conclusions drawn too quickly in conversations. And rather than it being a discussion it becomes a misunderstanding.

Every person has a set of words they try not to use, too. Every person has words that seem to trigger a reaction in general but keep in mind words have been ever changing. What is offensive now, might not have been years ago. You ever hear an elderly person say a word that currently is offensive and not seem to get the memo? You kind of have to shrug it off and be understanding. We must ask ourselves if censoring language to avoid emotional responses is the right way to go in this day and age? How does that promote learning? In my opinion it doesn’t. You do not learn anything by avoiding words. I would suggest taking a look at a dictionary and seeing how many multiple definitions there are for words as well. You may be surprised to discover what you thought you knew about a word is wrong, and there are multiple ways to use it. And I would argue, a person would truly appreciates the English language, enjoys reading it in different tones and styles. And if you truly don’t like something, how hard is it to move on and find something else to read? Not difficult in this day and age with the internet at your fingertips. Do we really need facebook censoring news, twitter censoring certain perspectives, etc..? Who will determine what is “real” and/or offensive? I’d rather determine things for myself. Wouldn’t you?

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