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Unbroken's avatar

What are the benefits and dangers of always being politically correct?

Asked by Unbroken (10704points) May 28th, 2013

Can someone please explain to me the benefits of always using politically correct terminology, even when the terminology itself disguises the ugliness of actions and behavoirs and the negative effects it can have on the person it refers to or the society surrounding it?

I say this from the point of view who has been exposed to many ugly things and was ugly and had the potential to become much uglier. Far from perfect though I still am.

It is not that I don’t have empathy. I just see the value of acknowledging things. An addict must first acknowledge s/he has a problem. In my experience this is applies to any change one must identify what they want to change and have motivation to try. If the world and people are too afraid or too polite to make candid statements a person will could potentially never acknowledge the things s/he is and the damage it is doing to the person and the larger group.

Admittedly other people can’t force people out of denial but acting as if there behavior is not a problem or not acknowledging their behavior or identifying it as negative is that not the behavior of a codependent?

I found I personally have benefited when people cut through the bullshit and when I was honest with myself. In fact I am thankful for it.

I am not advocating cruelty but honesty. I endeavor to support someone when they are making a true effort. I do put limitations and am cautious, I know I run the risk of being co dependent again. I don’t know if I have helped anyone in a real way but I have tried. And I treat people with compassion. I know I have hurt and been hurt by honesty. But it was a healing hurt rather then rip the hole open wider and grind some bacteria in.

So can someone tell me what the logic is of politically correctness?

I am not talking about equality or human rights issues. A few examples: white trash, rabid fundamentalists, crazy people: defined as people with unspecified problems that cause them to sabotage themselves and others without seriously trying to get help, freeloaders and deadbeats, users, methheads, alcoholics, there are more but that gives you the jist.

I recognize I have an unpopular opinion. Feel free to point out errors in my position or have a discussion amongst yourselves but please remember to be respectful of each other.

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21 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

I think it should be politically incorrect to say “white trash.” That is definitely racist, but probably acceptable because it is directed against white people instead of a minority. Which brings up another interesting point, it seems as if politically correct or incorrect refers primarily to minorities.

Anyhow, I agree with you. I personally don’t understand why retarded is not acceptable but delayed is. They both mean the same thing and either can be used with or without rancour.
One mod said they automatically delete any answer that includes the word retarded, so this may all be modded.

It is why I have liked AA, there is always someone there to tell you the truth as they experienced it and if you are smart enough you can learn from their experience.

Way too much pussyfooting around and it does no favors to anyone.

woodcutter's avatar

Not sure about any “dangers” of being PC but I know there’s definitely no benefits of being so. Political correctness: is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

ragingloli's avatar

What even is political correctness?
The vibe I am getting from its opponents is that they seem to be mad that it is no longer fine for them to needlessly insult people.

Unbroken's avatar

@rooeytoo I am sure white trash is politically incorrect. I said it because that is my background. As to racist yes there is distinguishing race.

This is presumably because the majority groups take for granted and have little understanding for the inconvenience the minorities go through daily. I actually don’t have a problem with this. To an extent, I’m not sure where the line should be.

For example, if we follow along these lines votes should be decided in favor of the loser/minority opinion. Lol

I wonder if thing would change and if it would be for better or for worse.

Getting sidetracked here this is not about politics and minorities. I do believe in equal rights even if I am not sure what it means.

Pussyfooting. I like that.

@woodcutter I guess I see it as potentially dangerous because I see it as a possible method of delusion and what happens when a country a world languishes in delusion. Making allowances for people who harm society. What effect can that have, completely aside from politics and minorities?

@ragiloli Political Correctness is a rebranding of everything potentially considered negative. In other words one can’t call a spade a spade. Needlessly insult no. The purpose is purposefully insult in order to incite change. Do reformists put polite labels on things when they are trying to rally the people?

josie's avatar

Think of all the questions that children in the public schools are not permitted to ask. You will have your answer

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@josie I find it offensive that you have the audacity to suggest that I should “think”.

woodcutter's avatar

@rosehipsI guess I see it as potentially dangerous because I see it as a possible method of delusion

I know, so true but I wanted someone else to state that. More like hoping someone here would

WestRiverrat's avatar

It stifles needed debate on an issue. If you cannot debate an issue you cannot change it.

woodcutter's avatar

I think people are insulted way too easily these days. Way to easy. And if not for them being told they were, they probably would never have been. Too much shit that was never close to being meant as a slight, gets blown so out of proportion that proper discourse is unnecessarily difficult. It is more of an attempt to distract than any good it claims to do. And all in the name of being polite…bullshit. Most will see right through this but in the butthurt circles of the loudest shouters, it is the loudest talkers who get to claim being right.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Egh I hate this politically correct bullshit. The way I see it, it’s just a bunch of new labels to refer to groups/things that are somehow far more vague/offensive than the original term. Is it really wrong to call someone black as long as it’s not done in a way meant to demean someone? Because the way I often see “politically correct” labels I feel like they turn out being worse in the end. No no, don’t refer to him as black, refer to him as African American…..welll isn’t that quite a sweeping generalization right there to assume just because one’s black one must be from Africa? No possibility they could be from Melanesia or the Caribbean?

Blueroses's avatar

I saw a sign in a restaurant for an entrance for “Our Handi-capable” Guests”

Who got a bonus for thinking up that PC term?

Your question, however, brings up 2 separate issues. One is “Has PC gone too far?” The other is about honesty/courtesy within friendships.

I despise PC, mainly because I worked in advertising and we weren’t allowed to say simple things like “Within walking distance of…” or “Great neighborhood for children” because we might offend people who can’t walk or can’t have children (or hate children or people who can walk).
It gets ridiculous. Soon you can’t say anything at all and then there’s backlash.

But then, you’re talking about people being honest with you personally rather than trying to spare your feelings. That’s different.
Nobody WANTS to hurt a friend (unless you like being friends with blunt assholes, which I, personally, kinda do)

ucme's avatar

PC brigade…Pathetic Cunts.

Unbroken's avatar

Thank you for the food for thought all.

Seems like I stifled my own debate by stating my position and answering back to the one dissenter.

I do appreciate the answers given.@Blueroses you are correct I broke it down in two ways that couldn’t be construed as political. My question was strangled by my reluctance to be misconstrued or to the push the edges of offense.

Maybe a better question is it helpful to society to encourage thin skin? What restraints are we putting on ourselves in order to never offend, which is unachieveable if one actually wants to do something. Are we crippling ourselves with sensitivity since we are being dictated to what is offensive? Personally I find handicapable offensive, I do have handicaps but I the feeling that I should be coddled in such a fashion is distressing. Vision impaired instead of blind can be misconstrued. Little people, well that is diminuitive which I would find offensive instead of the medical term. Brings to mind wee folk and fairies.

As to having to edit adverts and attract the largest amount of people to a product or possesion… The idea is ludicrous. Ok admittedly I think an item should sell itself on its own merits. But when everyone in life has a different wound or trauma then its just a matter of catering to majorities and a few popular minorities that get good press and then we are back to inequality again.

Unbroken's avatar

My point succinctly is that it shuts down communication, we are told what to think, what to be offended by.

Historically PC has been used by dictator’s it can be weaponized as propaganda and limit free speech.

It can’t all be negative. But I have a hard time buying the enlightened and morally superior line. I can’t help but think these people don’t know what they are talking about or wish to distance themselves from reality.

Blueroses's avatar

Ahh, how appropriate that your own question was strangled by the feeling of needing to be PC.

I have a personal anecdote that illustrates the stupidity of allowing PC to override humanity.

I have a good friend who is (she prefers “little person”) a dwarf.
She has a minivan which opens as a hatchback and has a rope that allows her to pull it back down. She opened the hatch and the rope flipped up to the roof of the van. She could not reach it.

Not one person who saw her jumping and trying to get that down stopped to help her. Everybody averted their eyes and was afraid to offend her by offering help,

That’s ridiculous.

Unbroken's avatar

@Blueroses What a shame! Simple communication would have determined whether she would have accepted help well.

Your story also aptly demonstrates that everyone has a unique idea of respect and what comes along with it.

Having patented terms and conveniently coined phrases are a hinderance to actually recognizing different people as individuals rather then a mass with one need.

I do hope someone eventually helped her.

Blueroses's avatar

@rosehips She had to call her husband (also a little person) to bring a ladder.

She knows she could have simply asked for help but she was a bit embarrassed.

Unbroken's avatar

Wow I wonder what was going through the heads of those involved.

Such a little thing to most of us. A matter of embarrasment anxiety effort and a commute for another. And being politically correct did nothing to change the situation. : (

Blueroses's avatar

I think we just have to throw away our ideas of PC,

My dad is perfect at this. He sees someone in a wheelchair approaching a curb, he just steps over and pushes them up. He sees an old man wanting to stand up, and he’s just there with an arm to pull on and one arm on the chair.

He’s so intuitive, unobtrusive and polite. Nobody ever takes offense at his help.
He’s my hero.

Unbroken's avatar

GA Blueroses

mattbrowne's avatar

The danger arises when we confuse religion with hidden political agendas leading to tyranny. Then we need to stop being politically correct. We need to say openly that we want a sharia-free and fatwa-free world, for example, even if this upsets some people.

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