What Does "Politically Correct" Mean?

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

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    OK. So when you said "being called a loser makes one a loser" you really meant "being called a loser by certain people makes you a loser."

    I disagree. YOU decide whether or not you are a loser - through your own actions and thoughts.
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed, for the most part.

    As mentioned before, sometimes people's interpretation of political correctness goes too far. It changes from "you can't call people coons" (or whatever the slur of the day is) to "you can't discuss the crime issue within the black community." And that's unfortunate because it can tend to stifle debate.

    Fortunately, most of the time people do not misuse political correctness in that manner.
    Often, I find these people are quite offended when they are regarded by others in the same way they regard others.

    "I'm not prejudiced against Muslims - but they have to prove that they are peaceful before we let them into the country. Why didn't they stop Omar Mateen? That attack is on THEM. Once they can stop their own, then we can start treating them like everyone else."
    "Well, you're Christian. Why didn't you stop Anders Breivik?"
    "WHAT? I'm not responsible for him! He was a lunatic. He's not like most Christians!"
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Yah, it should be more emphasized as not confined to just matters of etiquette and civility, as this thread seems to focus on. There are whole movements and policies which fall under the "teacher's pet" status of being ideologically correct, judging from the volatile responses or condemnation of anyone daring to even question or challenge them. Regardless of its scientific approval, the significance of climate change is politically mediated to a public that doesn't grasp the nuts and bolts of the research (even most extra-disciplinary scientists aren't versed in it at the specific level). "You don't have the time to grok the dense nomenclature of this peer-reviewed paper, Mr & Ms Everybody, but surely you can apprehend the institutional sacredness and authority of the scientific approval."

    As well, there are rumblings of eliminating some words / ideas from English or the applicable language, a la Orwellian fashion to prevent future generations from even thinking them. Religious prudes and censors had to be battled in former decades, but the traditional vulgarities and conceptions were never threatened to be eliminated altogether since these folk cussed up a storm and told dirty jokes themselves in the conversations of private settings.

    Historical revisionism has never been a stranger to movies of any era, but at least there was no single, universal motive behind the modifications (facts were often changed under the freedom of artistic license as much pressure from standards).

    But now (in the possible dominance of a lone motive context) even literature is being "corrected", like Huckleberry Finn. So that contemporary and later readers can't even vicariously experience what a slave fully had to go through in terms of the vocal abuse they were subjected to (if not the physical maltreatment, also). Given time, accounts of the past written by those who lived in it (crouched in either fiction or non-fiction) may have all description evaluated and mediated through a rose-colored filter. Again, revision and censorship certainly isn't new, but it should be alarming to everyone when any group advocating it deems that they should go unchallenged because of some special status of their identity, or their sainthood and beliefs / crusade being so morally superior.
    Magical Realist likes this.
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  7. mtf Banned Banned

    That's a strange way to look at it. It seems to be rather American.

    My issue with PC is that PC people never say what they really mean and want, so others need to read between the lines correctly. Demanding from others to read between the lines all the time is a form of manipulation.

    Also, in my experience, people who are greatly in favor of PC are the ones who want to be free to insult others, while demanding that same others be nice to them.

    This is such an American interpretation.

    In my experience, in Europe, the reason controversial ideas cannot be discussed is that those in the positions of power will retaliate. For example, a college professor won't let a student pass an exam if the student said something controversial.

    On one of my papers in college, the teacher insisted that I write something that was, in my estimation, completely wrong. She didn't let me pass the exam until I wrote it.
    That sentence was "What did the author mean by this?" Nowhere did the authory actually say what he meant with some statement in a text. I said I could interpret it, with the caveat that it would be an interpretation. But no. The teacher wanted me to project and to claim that I can read the author's mind. Now that's PC.

    I don't know why it can't; I just know I got kicked for bringing it up.
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Such as the virtue of heavy military expenditures and foreign wars.
    I wouldn't regard the historical revisionism of removing the word "nigger" from contemporary novels, and the historical revisionism of removing the contribution of organized religion to the terrorism inflicted upon freed slaves after the Civil War, and the historical revisionism involved in altering the record of the political maneuverings and media campaigns devoted to taking the US into an invasion of Iraq in 2003, as the products of a single, universal motive.

    The single most influential politically enforced revision of history in current US media is the "both sides" narrative of the rightwing corporate conservative - in particular Republican Party's - political efforts and accomplishments since 1980 in the US. But for some reason the politically enforced censorship, politically enforced bowdlerization of descriptive vocabulary, and politically ubiquitous happy-talk blame deflection for consequences, is not disparaged as "politically correct".

    Why is that?
  9. mtf Banned Banned

    There's another problem: how to translate the term "political correctness" into European languages to begin with.
    A mechanical translation, such as the German "politische Korrektheit" has usually settled, but from what a German doctoral student who was also studying in the US told me, that is not a correct translation, because the "political" in English is actually from the word "policy," not "politics."

    "Political correctness" actually seems to mean 'in line with the policy' and adequate translations would need to reflect that. Alas, it seems to be too late for that.

    One of the problems I see is that there is a stark discrepancy between what people tend to publicly endorse as moral, and what they actually value.

    Like the example with the aggressive drivers: Officially, people are against aggressive driving. Yet on the road, aggressive drivers seem to do better, be more respected.
    Or: People who find themselves abused by their employer are often advised by lawyers to sue their employer. But the reality is that suing your employer, no matter how justified and substantiated the accusation, usually ends badly for the employee, even if he wins in court.
    People also tend to see whistleblowing as a good thing, and yet it costs most whistleblowers their head.

    Why this discrepancy? Why endorse something that often ends badly? Why endorse as valuable something that isn't actually valued?
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Discussion of climate change does not fall under the heading of politically correct (or not.)
    There is no governmental proposal out there to "eliminate some words/ideas from English."
    And the Bible has been "corrected" several times throughout its history. (One very famous change involved changing "young woman" to "virgin" - a change which I think most people will agree was far from trivial.) This is nothing new; people edit old works all the time. Fortunately, there is no governmental push to do this, just people like Alan Gribben. He published a new cleaned-up version of the book.
    ?? So don't buy Gribben's version. Indeed, if you wish to edit the book to increase the use of the word "nigger" - to better experience what a slave fully had to go through in terms of the vocal abuse they were subjected to - then you are free to do that as well.
    You have confused "censorship" with "free speech." Gribben was exercising his right to free speech by changing a literary work to something he preferred and re-releasing it. Would you be in favor of banning his book?
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Because we realize that many ideals are hard to achieve, even if they are desirable. We all know we should exercise and eat right. But since people are lazy, often those things get overlooked. Most people believe they should treat other people fairly. But when your neighbor's dog has been barking for six days straight it gets harder to treat him fairly.
  12. mtf Banned Banned

    This points at a serious problem then: the trivialization of ideals and the tolerating of such trivialization.


    Moral persons would not do that.
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

    A moral person would not do what? Neglect to run 3 miles a day? That's not really a moral issue, nor is such neglect "the trivialization of ideals."
  14. mtf Banned Banned

    Rugged individualism as a governmental policy eventually failed, and nobody is an island.
    Nowadays, we are being pushed into individualism -- but this is because people don't want to take any responsibility for what they say and do to eachother.

    Individualism isn't born out of some desire for autonomy per se; it is a coping strategy when living in a society that is falling apart.
  15. mtf Banned Banned

    A moral person would not endorse something which they don't actually believe in and which they don't put into practice.

    Endorsing a principle (or a goal, or a value) but not living by it is usually known as hypocrisy.
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I agree. There is a vast difference between "nobody is an island" and "when someone tells me I am a loser, I am a loser."
    Nonsense. Some people are individualists simply because they prefer that to the alternatives, not because they "don't want to take any responsibility for what they say and do to each other."
    Also nonsense. Many people in perfectly functioning societies are individualists.
    So a doctor should not recommend quitting smoking if they themselves smoke? I disagree. Indeed, it is a doctor's JOB to give good health advice to his patients, even if he does not take that advice himself. A doctor who refused to give such advice based on his own habits would be a poor doctor indeed.
  17. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    "Political correctness" has its historical usage in the context of Marxist (both Soviet, Euro / French) and leftist intellectual activity -- which includes the facetious self-mockery of the early '70s in the US. That impedes its adhesive effectiveness when attached to the other ideological polarity. I mean, one can try to use it as an umbrella for subsuming the southpaw's rival, too, but the latter keeps oozing out, as noted.

    We would need a more voguish, distinct label for the capitalist and rightist variety of thought policing, modification of schoolbooks and "retcon" of past narratives. If any terms already recruited for that purpose are proving inadequate due to either staleness or being too generic / all-inclusive for the job of specifically designating the spectrum of the commercialism / northpaw camp.
  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Your declaration of absolutely no discussions about climate change occurring under any context associated with political correctness is noted.

    It is noted that "rumblings of eliminating some words / ideas from English or the applicable language" gets translated into "government proposal" in either the billvonese language or billvonese cognitive tendencies.

    It is noted that "revisionism and censorship certainly isn't new" and "religious prudes and censors had to be battled in former decades" fly under the billvonese perceptual radar. As gestures toward a broader classification of activity of which "political correctness" is only a sub-genre of. But of which this topic isn't concerned with and accordingly was given less mention. http://www.sciforums.com/threads/what-does-politically-correct-mean.157345/page-7#post-3396520

    "Huck" was indeed a bad example from the standpoint that it has a long, complicated history in classrooms on the side of both right and left polarities. This repeated inferring that government is and would be in the future the agency responsible for developing and promoting preference and choice of such potential policies is mildly fascinating. It's good to know that local and national coercion via intimidation of socio-political movements is defunct.
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Hmm. You noted something I did not say. Whatever floats your boat!
    Again, something I did not say.
    Since you are making up your own narrative and then arguing with it yourself, I will leave you to it.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So it's got cooties? It's a monopole magnet?

    Ok, then where's the complementary term for the far more prevalent and influential polar behavior?

    It's historical usage in the US public discourse has been almost entirely as a disparaging term used by wingnuts and bigots against attempts to curb their barrages of abuse and insult and politically motivated framing of issues. That's fine, as long as no one mistakes it for an actual category of intellectual error when it's being used like that. If accusations of PC are going to be discussed in a US media context as anything other than a marketing tactic for promulgating bigotry and bs, then its comparative triviality when set against that complementary management of the terms of discussion by those promulgators of bigotry and bs moves front and center.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  21. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    “Political correctness is America's newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people's language with strict codes and rigid rules. I'm not sure that's the way to fight discrimination. I'm not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech.”

    George Carlin

    Political correctness is language control.
    And language control is thought control. Period. The rise of modern political correctness (PC) is a great example of the cunning way in which social engineers such as the New World Order manipulators operate. Political correctness is soft censorship. It is intolerance disguised as tolerance. As George Carlin said, it is fascism pretending to be manners. It is running amok not just in Universities but now almost everywhere in society. Just as Orwell laid out so precisely in 1984, political correctness is the Newspeak which is threatening to limit our ability to freely speak and think, by reducing the number of available words in our vocabulary.

    Brain dead?
    screw it
    I ain't gonna drop niggardly from my vocabulary because some ignorant bigot might find that an excuse to claim offence.

    When Clinton's Carville referred to another human being as "trash" I found that to be less than acceptable.
    Was I offended? No. I just thought less of him and his boss.

    Common decency would have us all being sensitive of legitimate slights. PC adherents I've known are often the least decent.

    The 6th grade science teacher, Mrs. Parks, asked her class, "Which human body part increases to ten times its size when stimulated?"

    No one answered until little Mary stood up and said, "You should not be asking sixth graders a question like that! I'm going to tell my parents, and they will go and tell the principal, who will then fire you!"

    Mrs. Parks ignored her and asked the question again, "Which body part increases to 10 times its size when stimulated?"

    Little Mary's mouth fell open. Then she said to those around her, "Boy, is she going to get in big trouble!"

    The teacher continued to ignore her and said to the class, "Anybody?"

    Finally, Billy stood up, looked around nervously, and said, "The body part that increases 10 times its size when stimulated is the pupil of the eye."

    Mrs. Parks said, "Very good, Billy," then turned to Mary and continued. "As for you, young lady, I have three things to say: One, you have a dirty mind. Two, you didn't read your homework And three, one day you are going to be very, very disappointed.
    Too damned many Marys. Not enough Mrs. Parks.
    Eschew silly intolerance. Eschew glorifying ignorance.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  22. sculptor Valued Senior Member


    Long ago, at a youth soccer game, I said:
    "I don't know what is wrong with kids these days."
    (this got some other parents attention)
    "They don't seem to like good music."
    "They don't even like the 'mothers of invention'. "
  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Again, its introduction or origin in the US was with southpaw intellectuals engaging in joking self-mockery of themselves. (Stuart Hall's facetious example below of "Not very 'politically correct', Comrade!" acknowledges its deeper roots and influences which thinly connect the '70s usage back to a Marxist history on the European continent.) Right-wingers later observed or figuratively stepped into the path of these "in-house" ejaculations. They got poked with this pseudo-arrogant fun and took it serious (got pregnant with the resulting consequences from the '90s till today).

    Amanda Hess: "Politically correct” was born as a lefty in-joke, an insidery nod to the smugness of holier-than-thou liberals. As Gloria Steinem put it: “ ‘Politically correct’ was invented by people in social-justice movements to make fun of ourselves.” In the ’80s, the Brown University student Jeff Shesol’s “Doonesbury”-esque campus comic strip, “Thatch,” introduced a cape-wearing vigilante called Politically Correct Person, who faced off against his archenemy, Insensitive Man. Shesol went on to serve as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton. But these wry liberals, smoking beneath the bleachers, unwittingly started a fire that engulfed the entire movement. --How Political Correctness Went From Punch Line To Panic http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/24/m...orrectness-went-from-punch-line-to-panic.html

    In the 1970s, the American New Left began using the term "politically correct." In the essay The Black Woman: An Anthology (1970), Toni Cade Bambara said that "a man cannot be politically correct and a [male] chauvinist, too." Thereafter, the term was often used as self-critical satire. Debra L. Shultz said that "throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New Left, feminists, and progressives... used their term 'politically correct' ironically, as a guard against their own orthodoxy in social change efforts." As such, PC is a popular usage in the comic book Merton of the Movement, by Bobby London, which then was followed by the term ideologically sound, in the comic strips of Bart Dickon. In her essay "Toward a feminist Revolution" (1992) Ellen Willis said: "In the early eighties, when feminists used the term 'political correctness', it was used to refer sarcastically to the anti-pornography movement's efforts to define a 'feminist sexuality.'"

    Stuart Hall suggests one way in which the original use of the term may have developed into the modern one: According to one version, political correctness actually began as an in-joke on the left: radical students on American campuses acting out an ironic replay of the Bad Old Days BS (Before the Sixties) when every revolutionary groupuscule had a party line about everything. They would address some glaring examples of sexist or racist behaviour by their fellow students in imitation of the tone of voice of the Red Guards or Cultural Revolution Commissar: "Not very 'politically correct', Comrade!"

    "For the sake of those just tuning in:" As stated previously, repeated attempts to try to stick the label of "political correctness" on right-wing varieties of thought policing fail to hold because the latter simply point out the long background history of the expression being born in or applying to the context of their opponents.

    Amanda Hess: "But the new anti-P.C. isn’t so gloriously liberating as it purports to be. The right-wing verve for pointing out political correctness has emerged as its own form of speech policing."

    So if "anti-PC" isn't satisfactory at all, then we still need a distinct term for specifically designating the capitalist / conservative spectrum's own brand of such. And that's really only if one finds whatever one has been currently using as ineffective, outdated, or overly broad (extending beyond the range of just them). Traditional name-calling like "bourgeoisie, redneck Nazis, fundies, pigs, etc" may not even directly suggest speech & concept policing adequately at all times, though most are often taken to have the association.

    However, it's no more up to me to borrow / concoct and provide a customized, voguish pejorative label for right-wing regulation of ideas and speech anymore than it was up to me to borrow / concoct and and provide a pejorative label for left-wing regulation of ideas and speech. A word-coiner or trendy phrase inventor has to be on the lucky podium at the lucky time for that to ever happen, anyway.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016

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