General Question

Baloo72's avatar

How effective is "political correctness"?

Asked by Baloo72 (702points) February 9th, 2009

disclaimer: I do not intend to offend anyone here or elsewhere

Does changing something to make it “politically correct” have an effect on the offensiveness of the topic? Why is “African American” politically correct even if the person in question is not from Africa? Also, is a white man living in America who originally was from South Africa considered “African American”? Why are most white people in America not called “Anglo Americans” or “European Americans”?

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7 Answers

buster's avatar

I think the terms black and white are still political correct. I lived in a black community for seven years and my black neighbors and I always differentiate us by the terms black and white. The only people that push the african -american or irish-american or nationality first then american is the news media and people who really aren’t in tune with black or other communities that aren’t white.

Baloo72's avatar

@buster That’s what my opinion is too. My friends that are black don’t have a problem with anyone referring to them as black, so I don’t know what the big deal is. Mostly I wanted some people’s opinions, so thanks for your input.

marinelife's avatar

Are you asking only about this one case or more broadly about all politically correct speaking?

If the latter, while I think it can be taken to ridiculous lengths sometimes, on the whole, I think it makes people stop and think before they speak, which can only be a good thing. It moves us further as a society away from tolerating hate speech and demeaning terms for others.

Often the people crying out against political correctness are not the people at the receiving end of whatever epithet the objector wants to be able to use.

So, I say yes. It is not perfect, but it is a good thing.

asmonet's avatar

It’s retarded. People are people.
Fuck labels.

Baloo72's avatar

@Marina I was asking about all politically correct speaking. I was just using this specific case for more example questions.

I suppose I should ask more specifically:
How effective is “political correctness” at reaching the goals it was intended to reach?

1) The rights, opportunities, and freedoms of certain people are restricted because they are reduced to a stereotype.
2) Stereotyping largely is implicit, unconscious, and facilitated by the availability of pejorative labels and terms.
3) Rendering the labels and terms socially unacceptable, people then must consciously think about how they describe someone unlike themselves.
4) When labelling is a conscious activity, the described person’s individual merits become apparent, rather than his or her stereotype.

Do we now just use the “politically correct” labels in the place of old stereotypes?

marinelife's avatar

All good stuff, Baloo72. I think it is effective. People today are, for the most part, inhibited about using straightforward hate sppech in a way they weren’t just a few years ago.

As I said in my earlier post, I think this inhibition causes people to stop and think before they speak, which is applicable to your points two and three. I think it is an effective deterrent.

As to your last question, I suppose it depends on the person and the situation. I see a real sea change especially among younger people who have not grown up with the types of pejorative labels earlier generations did. For the most part, I see people who are much more open and accepting of people as individuals.

The election of the first black president could even be in some small part due to the effectiveness of this movement.

Baloo72's avatar

@Marina Good answer! Thanks for your input. I am really just trying to get people to do some thinking. :)

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