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Has political correctness gone too far?

With the rise of progressivism, the concept of political correctness, or PC has


gained massive popularity and support in America. The concept makes sense, doesnt it?
Indeed, how many times have we heard the saying If you have nothing nice to say, say
nothing at all? This attitude, or movement (as is more fit given the current state of
society), was a response to those who held a belief summed up in another common
saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
But words do hurt: calling someone out on their weight may insult them, putting
someone down because of his or her gender or race is in fact hurtful, and being
insensitive towards someones sexual orientation or religious beliefs is not nice, to say
the least. Words are powerful. They convey emotions, motivate ideas, and communicate
power. And most people in our society realize this. USA Today reports that tolerance for
gays and lesbians is on the rise. The Washington Post recently reported that the United
States is one of the most racially tolerant nations in the world. And a Pew Research Poll
cited that a growing number of Americans are now more tolerant of religions other than
their own. Indeed, a growing number of people are realizing that sensitivity and
sympathy towards each other is a virtue toward which we should strive.
But when do we go too far? When does the political correctness movement go too
far? Pundits, T.V. hosts, and reporters drop words like sexist, homophobe, racist,
and bigot as cheap shots to demonize the positions or viewpoints of other pundits,
hosts, and guests that they disagree with. Activists call for tolerance while shunning,
insulting, and vilifying the beliefs or opinions of the very same people they are trying to
convert. Even common Americans now use phrases like Thats racist or Youre being
sexist without understanding how those very words are only perpetuating the problem
they are trying to solve.
In a society where an NFL teams name causes the cable news stations to talk
their heads off in 24 hour debate, where conservative speakers are booed or kicked off
college campuses, and where beliefs or statements made years ago force CEOs, reporters,
or stars to apologize and beg for mercy, it is clear that the political correctness movement
is no longer a movement to not offend, but a movement that causes censorship, conflict,
and a denial of fundamental civil rights.
Those vigilantes that compose the PC and Word Police seek to root out whatever
ideas they judge to be offensive, unacceptable, or bigoted. The big problem here,
however, is that to do so, the Word Police must violate principles of freedom of speech
and freedom of expression.
These examples are evident both at home and on the national front. Today, the
United States Office of Patents and Trademarks ruled that it would not renew the
trademark registrations of the Washington Redskins on the grounds that the team's name
is offensive to Native Americans. Sure enough, the PC Police headed by Senator Harry
Reid (D-Nevada) led the charge against the Redskins, claiming that Every time they
(Native Americans) hear this name is a sad reminder of a long tradition of racism and
bigotry.
First of all, how more intolerant can you be! To inject yourself in someone elses
business of running a company and then accuse them of running it poorly is an utter
embarrassment.
Reid continued, speaking of the owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder may be
the last person in the world to realize this, but its just a matter of time until he is forced
to do the right thing and change the name.
Notice Reids language: he wants to force Daniel Snyder to change the name of
his team. Force him to do the right thing. This is the moral superiority that those who
subscribe to the beliefs of political correctness claim they have. Harry Reid is no one to
judge what is the right thing to do and what is the wrong thing. And he certainly has no
right to force himself into the affairs of others.
The position of critics makes some sense, however. It may be offensive to have a
team named after a controversial term from the past. But the solution is not to shut down
and hamper the freedoms of others. No one is forcing those offended to buy tickets to
Redskins games. And no one is forcing them to like football at all. They are free to take
their money and pay elsewhere, and in doing so, have made a statement of not endorsing
the beliefs of others. But if, the PC movement is open to shutting down franchises or
forcing name changes then they should be open to applying those principles everywhere
to be logically and rhetorically consistent.
But theyre not. That would require them to also oppose the name of the state of
Oklahoma, which means red people in Choctaw. That would require them to fight for
the renaming of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for being offensive to the Irish. That
would require them to criticize the Seminoles, the Braves, the Trojans, and the Browns.
But they wouldnt, showing the inconsistency in their positions.
Everyone has heard of Donald Sterling and the CEO of Mozilla, two men who
made controversial statements literally and figuratively. One made racist remarks in the
privacy of his own home that were leaked to the press. The other made a private donation
to a Prop 8 campaign in California almost 5 years ago. When the PC Police got news of
this, its faithful disciples called for each man to be stripped of his position and forced to
pay for being offensive.
Similar scenarios are present in everyday life. Consider the scenario described by
Mark Cuban when asked about his take on the Donald Sterling controversy:

"If I see a black kid in a hoodie and its late at night, Im walking to the other side
of the street. And if on that side of the street, theres a guy that has tattoos all over
his face--white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere--Im walking back to the other
side of the street.

These comments arent racist: theyre fact. However, the PC police got on his
back for these comments, claiming that he was being racist for endorsing racial profiling
and for discriminating. Any sane person who tries to objectively analyze this statement
would immediately see how bogus it is to call these comments racist.
Apart from destroying civil liberties, the over-the-top PC movement has
unintended (I hope) and harmful ramifications for those against whom the PC vigilantes
push their absurd agenda. Not only does political correctness wrongly censor personal
opinions, but it does nothing to address any underlying problems driving statements and
actions in question. Even worse, when the federal government gets involved and starts to
subscribe to the agenda of the PC movement in vocally opposing certain ideas, we are
pushed down a path to an Orwellian society. But most often the PC movement just breeds
increased resentment or creates a society where everyone is walking on eggshells for fear
of offending someone: leading to no discussion at allthe opposite of the progress that
the PC movement seeks.