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Friday, January 7, 2011

Say What You Mean, DAMNIT!

We too often stray from using our words and replace them with others because we are worried to offend and stress on being politically correct. In fact, we have become so focused on being politically correct that we stray further and further from the message we are trying to communicate. Political correctness can better be defined as conforming language, ideas, policies, or behavior in order not to be offensive. The idea of conforming is not a looked upon platform of our society, so why should we conform our language, the tool we use to express ourselves? Furthermore, conversation and speech is a natural and necessary human process, and if we conform in our communication and language by being politically correct, then we ultimately reduce the human status. We need to be a little less sensitive and get beyond the point of political correctness, and just say what we need to say. Our overbearing consciousness of being political correct has had a great effect on how we use language, and ultimately our language is suffering from it. Rather than being straight forward and effectively communicating, our focus on being political correct has lead to cliché, vague, terms that are confusing and open to misinterpretation. Nowadays we can barely even describe a person without seeming sexist, racist, or close-minded. For example, political correctness placed on gender roles has been blown out of proportion. I see no harm in using words such as congressMAN or policeMAN. I mean are we all not huMAN? And why should us women stress about being called a waitress or a hostess? I like the fact that my womanhood is acknowledged. We also stress way too much on being politically correct in regards to race and ethnicity. One trip of the tongue and a person can be labeled racist for ever. Recently I had a conversation with one of my teachers and she asked if I preferred to be addressed as black or African-American. I told her black is fine, my descendants could have came from Africa over 400 years ago. I am just as American as her, why stress the point? When I travel abroad, I am first viewed as American who is black. Not African-American. All in all, both words can be used interchangeably with no harm done. Nevertheless, my teacher said the school stressed that African-American was the politically correct term, and the only one that should be used in the classroom. The point here is why do we narrow our language and over exaggerate situations to make others feel comfortable, when it may not matter at all. Instead of saying what is on our minds, we have to constantly check and rephrase ourselves, and too often our original message does not get conveyed appropriately. Not only do we tailor our language in racist, sexist, and situations, we go further and use it in regards to a persons mental status. We are scolded for using the word retarded, but is mentally challenged really a better choice? We are careful not to offend people in their relationship choices— not gay, rather alternative lifestyle. Alternative lifestyle can describe many situations, why must we confuse ourselves? We use political correct-ness to describe anything of negative or awkward connotation. Are we really that fearful of being uncomfortable and does every situation need to be one of bliss? Th bottom line is this: our exaggerated euphemisms, and our overuse of politically language which is supposed to shed light on a situation is ultimately dimming to our human experience.

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