The Incorrectness of Political Correctness!


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Last week, for the first time, I watched a program called the The Verdict on Channel Nine. It was an interesting panel of characters hosted by Karl Stefanovic. One of the points that were being discussed was the use of the word Negro by Senator Eric Abetz. The general consensus on the panel was that it was not politically correct in this day and age.  Well, consensus is actually too polite a description for what transpired on that panel as there were heated arguments and rude name-calling among the panelist. All in the cause of trying to determine what is politically correct today.

While the discussion was predominantly around the word “ Negro”, I also learnt that using the word “Aboriginee” is no longer acceptable. Having being born in India, it made me think of how do I feel when I am referred to as “Indian”. Are they referring to me as Indian in a derogatory manner based on the colour of my skin or my accent or my mannerisms or the generalizations in society. Or is the reference to word “Indian” being used in a positive manner relating to its rich and ancient culture or its beautiful food or its natural beauty and diversity. Or, is it being used as a matter of fact to just state my place of origin.

Every one of those references brings up a variety of emotions and reactions. It makes me realize that the word by itself has no meaning. When you add the “ Context”, the “Deliverer” and the “Recipient”, then that changes the whole picture. And, again, if any one of those three changed, the picture would alter again. And, even if all three stayed the same but the emotional state of one of them was different on the day, then again, the whole picture would tell a totally different story.

It is easy to see the challenges of political correctness. If as a society we continue down that path, then, even introducing it as a subject in schools and universities would do very little towards ensuring a harmonious society. So, should we be caught up in political correctness by focus on any word in its solitude or should the emphasis be more on living in peace, love and happiness within our communities and fellow human beings.

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