Searching for Sunday

Political Correctness

I've never really understood all the angst over political correctness.  This was a major topic when I was in high school and college in the 1990's and has resurfaced in the current presidential campaign. A good essay on Huffington Post invites us to think harder about this topic, including its history.  I learned from the article that the term was originally derived by liberals to mock the way Marxists often tried to control the way people talked.

On the one hand, we are simply talking about being nice.  When people (individuals or groups) have ways they would prefer to be addressed and spoken about, then it is simply kind to abide by their request.  Does that sometimes mean who have to be mildly inconveniced?  Sure, but that's often the case with kindness.

On the other hand, can people be overly sensitive?  Indeed they can.  We've entered into an era when people can be too easily offended and sometimes take offense on behalf of someone else.  This last year many college campuses seemed to exhibit absurd extremes in this regard.

But are those college absurdities a threat to the ordinary person compelling their political outrage?  That seems even more absurd to me.  If Yale wants to get in a furor over an e-mail about Halloween costumes, then simply roll your eyes and move on.

What underlies the reactions of those on the political right is that suddenly (at least to them it is sudden) all sorts of viewpoints they took for granted have become taboo in the wider culture.  


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