In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to avoid stepping on someone’s toes, and no opinion or thought is sacred or respected.
Political correctness is an idea that people should not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.
A recent short film on YouTube by Neel Kolhatkar titled “Modern Educayshun” explicitly deals with this issue of political correctness in the classroom. The film, which mocks the attitude toward extreme liberalism and micro-aggressions, shows the frightening reality of where our education system is headed.
The film satirizes modern education by representing a classroom of students who are given equal grades regardless of their performance. To make sure the system was fair for everyone, students are given additional privilege points to their grades based on gender, race, sexuality and disabilities. When one of the students speaks out against the system, the teacher tells him it is more important to worry about the feelings of others rather than facts.
While the video illustrates an extreme example, Kolhatkar portrays the slippery slope of political correctness our society is slowly heading down.
In today’s vernacular, it’s become the safe word for denying that other opinions exist. It’s akin to the boy who cried wolf; the “PC” card is pulled all the time but is rarely welcomed when it’s valid.
More so now than ever, we constantly have to watch what we do and say to make sure we don’t offend someone around us. However, regardless of how careful we are, many times it is to no avail, as everyone still finds something to be offended by even when we just have a countering opinion or belief.
This year in particular has resulted in multiple instances of “go PC or go home.” The adult cartoon “South Park” satirized the PC supporters of Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn, for example. But even after its airing, several publications criticized the show for not using the appropriate amount of the “she” pronoun to refer to Jenner.
However, there absolutely are times when it’s hurtful or insensitive to use certain terms, such as “racist,” “bigot,” “sexist” or “homophobe.” Certainly, no one likes to be labeled as these words, but even these words are often thrown around without full knowledge of what they mean.
The urge for political correctness seems contrary to the unique opportunities given on college campuses for students to surround themselves with individuals from different backgrounds and beliefs. Political correctness, once an idea to foster professionalism and to filter out truly harmful comments, has gradually become an idea that means everyone must share the approved opinion, regardless of diversity in worldviews.
Each time controversial topics like race or religion are brought up in a classroom, the heart of the topics are rarely discussed because many times people are too worried about offending someone else or looking like they are against a certain group.
The dark side to political correctness has been exhibited in history before. During the pre-World War II era in the Soviet Union, people were imprisoned, exiled or even executed for showing opinions different from Joseph Stalin’s dictatorial ideology.
Quite frankly, too much time is spent beating around the bush and avoiding even the possibility that someone might disagree. Simply, the age of political correctness is hindering our educational system.
We need to be more mindful that it’s OK to believe something different than the person next to us, and we need to be more tolerant of those opinions. While it is important to remain respectful of others even when you disagree, the slippery slope of political correctness needs to be stopped before contrasting opinions are silenced.