Political Correctness in Language

Political discourse can oftentimes get too crass with the usage of language especially recently. We’ve seen it on TV. When leaders blurt out reportedly prejudiced remarks about topics like rape and gender equality, or when influential figures through their speeches call out racial groups and religious organizations regarding foreign policy, these create a stir that tends to negatively divide people. We hear analysts and communication experts discuss why some statements are considered “politically incorrect”.

Defining political correctness in the landscape of language is intended not to offend, disadvantage, disempower, marginalize, confine, or diminish any particular group of people in society. It demands the use of language that will allow and encourage social progress, therefore reducing offensive behavior by encouraging conscious thinking about individual values. To be politically correct is to be sensitive in using words, making sure it doesn’t create boundaries that exclude an individual of any demographics.

There’s been a constant debate whether political correctness is an absolute must, and its promoters push for:

  • a polite society that nevertheless gives voice to various groups with opposing views
  • intellectual discourse between groups and minorities rather than polarizing debates
  • freedom of expression that doesn’t involve hate speech
  • harmony amidst disagreement

To do so, they suggest:

  • the use of inclusive language
  • veering away from derogatory terms concerning physical or mental abilities
  • dropping religious labels when addressing people of other faiths
  • sensitivity towards topics like gender or sexual attraction

Political correctness is a complex and debatable subject because it involves communication among opposing personalities, cultures, and viewpoints. Ultimately, we can all agree that words are powerful and we must use them responsibly.