OPINION: Has anti-political correctness gone too far?

Julia Moreno and Grace Lindsley

Yes – By Julia Moreno

These days, it seems like everyone has to be politically correct about everything he or she says. We’re reminded to watch how we say things all over social media—on our Tumblr blogs, in Instagram hashtags, and on Twitter.

So has political correctness gone too far? Are we so afraid of being offensive we have completely bleached out the color in our vocabulary?

I know that last sentence might offend someone—but to hell with it.

But don’t mistake what I just said as being intolerant or ignorant. Because I’m not. I agree that it’s important to consider the power and the meaning of our words in order to maintain a civil society.

There certainly are groups that have experienced discrimination and hate speech for far too long. When I think about it, being politically correct about what we say has produced some pretty good results, such as  gender equality, body positivity and more awareness for how to describe people of various sexual orientations.

But where’s the line between hypersensitivity and being appropriately sensitive to someone who is different from you? Can you talk about certain things without being offensive?

I think there needs to be a give and take on this topic. People definitely need to be more accepting and open to learning the proper terms. But on the flip side, I think there is also a need to calm down and stop vilifying people via the internet.

The bigger picture is acceptance — not whether or not someone used the right words to describe you as a person.

Being conscious and aware about saying something in a way that doesn’t offend others is a step in the right direction, but I think that in our zeal to jump on people who are politically incorrect, we avoid focusing on the issues behind the words, whether they are deliberate or not.

We should really be focusing our frustration and emotional energy on actual equality for people of all races, religions and gender identities.

Of course, in the end, does it really matter how I broach the topic of political correctness? I guarantee somebody, somewhere will get offended by this column. And maybe that’s something we should work on as a New Year’s resolution together.

No – By Grace Lindsley

Political correctness is often brushed over as oversensitivity of a self-absorbed, liberalized generation, but to be politically correct is to be conscientious of marginalized groups that have been discriminated against. It is the choice to recognize that your words have an effect on other people.

When it comes right down to it, language matters. Wording matters. None of us live in a vacuum, especially now, when our ideas and thoughts are often broadcasted on social media to the entire world.

Political correctness is mostly understanding the power that we all have and choosing to respect those people you might reach.

A big misconception people have is that political correctness is a restriction of our First Amendment rights.

Let me be clear, political correctness has nothing to do with free speech. It also has nothing to do with censorship.

Many people confuse free speech with speech without repercussions. Every American has the right to say whatever they want, but each person also has the right to respond, ignore or fight back against speech that is hurting them or their community.

Ultimately, just as much as you have a right to speak with hate and ignorance, you also have the freedom to not be an asshole, intentional or otherwise.

The really big thing — what I hope you remember most — is that you don’t have to understand.

If you don’t get why what you’ve said is racist or how it could have possibly offended anyone, that’s alright. As long as you can be an adult, apologize and accept it, you’re already more than halfway there.

The comic Louis C.K. said, “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

Just because you might not understand how another person is affected, doesn’t mean that their feelings are suddenly invalid.

So be aware of how people want to be addressed. Be aware of what hurts the people around you. Be aware of your power to affect the rest of the world.