What Does "Politically Correct" Mean?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by spidergoat, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. mtf Banned Banned

    There's still a lot of racism, sexism, xenophobia, elitism etc. etc. going on, except that it seems to be done in progressively sophisticated ways, so much so that it seems those things aren't there, when in fact they are.
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  3. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

    Perpetual virtue signaling, depending on what happens to be acceptably virtuous at the time.
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    You can pretend it doesn't exist, or you can express it openly as if it were all right.
    Are those really the only options?
    It seems to me, at the time (1970's) we started discussing issues like exclusion and routine verbal abuse, some people actually thought, maybe for the first time, about how they speak and how their speech affects their fellow citizens. More tangible matters than words were also addressed, both then and since, regarding accessible doorways and washrooms, equitable employment laws, changes in education policy and public office. There has been a considerable shift in the perception of "normal" and "acceptable". It seems to me that two steps forward, even if they're followed by one reactionary step back, is still a step forward. I didn't expect 300 years of rotten attitudes to disappear in 30 years.

    Troglodytes still exist, sure. But I don't think they're the ones who should determine the tone of public discourse.
    It seems to me, most of the voices raised against what they usually refer to as "political correctness gone mad" are really saying "They won't let me show my big blue bum in public!!"
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  7. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

    And at the bottom of the slide you will find...
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  8. river

    Political correctness means that we can't handle ; as a whole in general society; the truth . About ourselves . We have become soft .

    The harsh reality is that we can all grow from point blank truth .

    Dancing around the subject can lead to " what the fuck are you on about ? " and therefore misunderstandings about you , me etc.

    Ego is what society is based on . Hence the existence of politically correct .
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    In my experience, people who refuse to "be PC" at all - and make a big deal about it - are the most likely to be bigots, cloaking their bigotry under the cover of "refusing to kowtow to political correctness."

    Most people are PC to some degree or another and avoid terms like nigger, coon, kike etc. They don't make dead baby jokes around couples who have just lost a baby. They don't call their friend's parent "a vegetable" even if they are braindead. For them it's just about being polite. Some people, of course, overdo it.
  10. river

    billvon; I listened to your point ; I understand your point .

    But generally this society of ours is over the top with PC.
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  11. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    I don't think it is a matter of political orientation, I think it is a matter of regard for free speech. That's the rare thing that conservatives and comedians have in common (reference to a number of comedians recently talking about how their jobs are getting more difficult).

    Either way, it isn't the same as respect/tact. It isn't just finding a nicer word to use to describe something, it makes certain topics off limits and quashes discussion. This is the rare occasion I agree with river: you are defining it too broadly, in a way that results in missing the point/misusing the term.
    river likes this.
  12. mtf Banned Banned

    Certain topics are off limits in certain contexts for a good reason.

    But maybe those two people shouldn't be talking to eachother at all.

    Issues of political correctness come up a lot in conversations between people who
    -- don't know eachother well to begin with;
    -- are assuming too much familiarity with eachother, given the actual status of their relationship;
    -- aren't respecting the power difference between them, their different positions in the formal or informal social hierarchy;
    -- aren't approaching the conversation in a spirit of goodwill and respect;
    in any given conversation, one or more of the above applies.

    Underlying one of the problems with political correctness is the conviction that anyone can or should talk about anything, with anyone, at any time. While such a conviction may seem democratic, egalitarian, honest, it's also totally unrealistic.

    If our society seems over the top with PC, that could also be due to people simply talking too much, not to the right people, not about the right things.
  13. river

    What if we get at least these comedians on stage at the same time ;

    Black , White , Native , Indian ( from India ) , Chinese , Japanese. Making fun of each other .

    Perhaps that is what is needed .

    Just saying .
  14. mtf Banned Banned

    For many people, those appear to be the only options.

    It's hard to meaningfully compare different time periods as some important givens are different. For example, nowadays, various recording devices are ubiquitous, and people are aware that someone could be recording the conversation and then use it against them.
    So if nowadays a person is polite, this could be because they have a genuine regard for others, or because they are afraid of the potential consequences of their rude speech.

    To be sure, the kinds of jobs people can do has also changed over time. Nowadays, with the development of technologies, blind people can work full time too, a range of jobs, whereas a hundred years ago, the possibilities for them much more limited.

    Being more accepting of disabled people isn't merely a change in ideology or policy, but also has a lot to do with technological advancements.

    I think one of the weak spots of some of modern political correctness is that one bad apple can spoil the whole basket. It looks like the modern politically correct discourse hasn't developed to the point where it would be able to deal with rude individuals effectively while not becoming one of them oneself.
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Recording devices have been around for more than a century. (Just watch Murdock!)
    Ubiquitous recording devices have only been around for about 2 decades.

    Which means the time that people started watching their words is poorly correlated with both the invention of recording devices and the omnipresent intrusion of them. It is well correlated with a time when (particularly, younger) citizens began to strongly assert their beliefs about being nice to each other. (eg. flower power movement et al, in the wake of a highly publicized, villified war).
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  16. mtf Banned Banned

    Not suggesting that the ubiquity of recording devices is the only reason; it is certainly a reason, for some people, sometimes, or from some point on.
    (I was thinking of some college professors who cleaned up their act after recordings of how they verbally abused students came into the public.)

    It takes a while for social phenomena to spread. How long does it take for something to become mainstream trend?
    If small, elitist groups started deliberately practicing PC, say, 50 years ago, in what time could this become (automatic) mainstream trend, if we account for youngsters who have their own language for a while and don't accept certain novelties offered by an elite, the older generations who aren't likely to change anymore, and other people who are set in their ways --?

    Also, how long does it take for the majority of people to become wary that someone could be recording them?

    It's not clear how to calculate these things. But what we can do is look at the factors that may be active in the present.
  17. mtf Banned Banned

    In order to rule the world, one must rule people's minds ...
  18. river

    From a Humanity point of view .
  19. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    But, to be clear, when it is used in this way there is a 99% chance that the person using the phrase is trying to get away with saying something sexist, racist, or otherwise derogatory in some way.
  20. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    I've grown intolerant of intolerance. All censorship sux, and opens the door for tyranny, and self censorship may well be the worst of all evils.
    One recent favorite: "I've tried to see things from your point of view, but I just couldn't get my head that far up my asshole."
    (free speech means free speech, ...so, if you're going to complain about words----shut the fuck up

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  21. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Because we have whorish media that sensationalize and polarize instead of conducting a meaningful discussion of complex issues. Contrary to popular misconception, such a discussion could be couched in a vocabulary entirely free of pejoratives, stereotyping and slurs. For every crude, simplistic expression, there is at least one polite alternative. And, guess what! Bonus: the polite expression is both more factually accurate and more objective.
    I disagree. I was there and now I'm here and I've lived through the interim without losing too much mental acuity. When, in 1968, a poorly educated, overweight middle aged white man [fat redneck] said to me: "If you like n*****s so much, whyn't cha marry one?" even though that was acceptable speech then, I was just as angry as I would be now... Well, maybe angrier: at the time, I was dating a very attractive young person with chocolate skin and a great sense of humour. (I was able to contain my anger - only just - and rebuke him with words alone.)
    All that changed is: most everyone would disapprove of his remark now, so he'd think twice about hurting the feelings of someone younger, smarter, faster and probably stronger than himself. I'm white, so there was no law forbidding me to talk back.
    Hasn't that always been the case with manners? Every child has to learn proper behaviour, whether he genuinely feels like it or not. Hopefully, someday he will understand the reason for the rules - meanwhile, obeying under threat of punishment can save his life and nose.
    Like it or not, we're stuck with civilization, which means getting along with other people, even if we don't like them.
    Sure. Technology always exists in some form, and we always have to decide how we're going to use it. If it's socially okay to marginalize and ignore disabled people [gimps, stumpies] or children with learning difficulties [retards, dummies], then why bother developing technological tools for their benefit? In 1900, there was no technological barrier to putting ramps on public buildings or sidewalks - they just didn't care how hard it was people in wheelchairs or young mothers with buggies or old men with canes to get around.
    If it's okay to deride and ignore any group, why bother changing a law to make their life easier? Why bother ending a systemic injustice or apologizing for a wrong that was committed against their parents and grandparents, or attempting to make amends?
    Nothing gets done unless somebody starts thinking about it first, and then talking about it.
    As ever. Also, because the definition is so nebulous, people who just want to be rude for its own sake, pretend that "political correctness" is somehow preventing them from exercising their constitutional right to potty mouth. It doesn't. They can be as crude as they want regarding body parts and functions - indeed, much cruder language is commonplace on the internet and television now than was allowed in the 50's, when racial, gender and ethnic stereotypes and abuses were acceptable.
    It's not the discourse. It's the speaker.
    And, of course, the audience: if you're playing to a roomful of raucous 8-year-olds, there may be an almost overwhelming temptation to impersonate an aggressive 10-year-old, so that they'll look up to you. The challenge is to be an adult and persuade them to look a little higher. Few politicians meet that challenge.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    They overlap a great deal. You probably wouldn't say to a friend of yours "so I hear your son is a faggot" but you might say "I heard your son is gay; is that true?" You are asking the same question, but using terms that are less offensive. That's being politically correct - avoiding terms that are offensive to a marginalized or discriminated-against group. When applied to such a group, political correctness is nearly identical to tact. However, tact applies to far more than dealing with marginalized groups, so the two are not identical.

    (And as I mentioned before, it can - and has been - overdone.)
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Precisely. That's where political correctness has gotten so ugly. It isn't just group-think any longer, it's enforced group-think.

    If it was simply a matter of empathy, politeness and tact, then people would show concern for everyone's feelings and would refrain from gratuitously offending anyone. Criticizing whites would be as off-limits as criticizing blacks. Attacking Christianity would be just as wrong as attacking Islam. Republicans wouldn't be treated as a 'fuck you' free-fire zone.

    In real life it isn't like that. Political correctness divides the world between those who supposedly need to receive protection from any possible offense, and those who can be offended with impunity. It's actually considered virtuous to offend the latter, while the former wear their hair-trigger sensitivities on their sleeves, daring people knock them off with unintended 'micro-offenses' invisible to anyone except the offended.

    That assumes that everyone is agreed on where those dividing lines lie and that their justifications are sound. Which isn't true at all. It assumes a whole underlying theory of oppression and victimhood in which the victims are defined as (surprise) all the members of the left's outsiders' voting coalition, while the oppressors are defined as their 'conservative' political opponents. Offending the latter is not only acceptable, it's virtuous.

    It's when that kind of thinking and behavior becomes mandatory and enforced in organizational contexts like universities or the courts that it turns into the more pernicious sort of political correctness that we increasingly see.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016

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