Should We Feel Obligated To Filter What We Say In Order To Be Politically Correct? English 1 A

1232 words - 5 pages

Should we feel obligated to filter what we say in order to be politically correct? There are derogatory terms that may offend some people, but when describing race or nationality, what defines what is right or wrong? In recent years, especially in media, people are filtering themselves and watching what they say, in order to be free of being chastised. Not being what people call “PC” (politically correct) is a big no-no in today’s society. A big problem in today’s world is that we’re trying too hard not offend anyone, and adjusting our name-calling and language in order to be PC.
Political correctness itself is a popular belief in conforming to language that would not be interpreted as being offensive, derogatory, or discriminative against sex or race. Some people consider that what is classified as PC is conventional wisdom, however Alfie Kohn claims the opposite to be true, “Our political system and the norms of our culture are largely built on an edifice of conservative beliefs regarding power, tradition, religion, and nationalism, many of them invisible to us precisely because they’re so widely and uncritically unaccepted.” In other words, no one should be considered better than the other, it is unaccepted, and the norm of our culture is to conform to equality. It is not natural to have to conform to a certain way of speaking, in fear of being offensive to any member of your audience.
There is no question that giving a label that represents groups of people is a sensitive matter, and the issue is the reasoning behind the particular label you choose to use. Choosing the politically correct label is often debated about in order to find the least offensive name to use, such as saying the name Native Americans or American Indians. The politically correct term to use is Native American for it describes this ethnic group for what they truly are; the first inhabitants of what is today the United States of America. Using the term American Indian is considered politically incorrect for it is based on Christopher Columbus’s mistake of referring to a group of people he believed were from the East Indies, when he actually discovered them in the Caribbean. However, in a 1955 Census Bureau survey shows that 49% of Native Americans preferred the term American Indian and 37% preferred the term Native American (qtd. Gaffney). In support of this popular opinion, Russel Means states in his essay, “At an international conference of Indians from the Americas held in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations in 1977 we unanimously decided we would go under the term American Indian. We were enslaved as American Indians, we were colonized as American Indians[,] and we will gain our freedom as American Indians and then we will call ourselves any damn thing we choose.” Even as it is not the politically correct label to use, the group of people it describes obviously prefers it, so why must we conform to using a term that is unfavorable?
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