Politically Correct on campus
Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter
Political correctness is a way for citizens to discuss topics that seem off-limits in regular, everyday discussion, but could also inhibit others from saying what they actually feel in regards to certain topics as well said Sterling White, sociology graduate student.
White said this inhibition is causing citizens to push back against the idea of political correctness entirely and, while people should be able to fully express themselves, if their views go against society’s core values then some sort of criticism should be expected.
“I think people nowadays are starting to value not being politically correct. This idea that people should be able to say what they want to say regardless of how it makes other people feel because it is how they feel and their values,” said White. “Which they should be able to do that, absolutely. But if the values go against equality, or social justice, and things like that then it’s going to cause conflict.”
White added in his own day to day, finding a balance between communicating fully and being politically correct is often a struggle. He weighs factors such as whether the situation calls for it or who the perspective audience is. He usually remains transparent in his speech since most of what he has to say is not negative.
Alysha Kalinowski, junior nursing major, said political correctness is a form of speech where people avoid making statements that would offend another, yet this can prove to be difficult in a society that seems to be sensitive about almost anything, often pushing people into silence.
Kalinowski added in a society that censors opinions, she admires those who go against the grain, like Donald Trump. She said, while she is not a fan of Trump due to his callousness, she admires how candid he is when speaking.
She added that while political correctness does have its place in helping to promote a more empathetic society, as of right now, it has gone a bit too far.
“I mean if it’s rude, obviously don’t say it in the first place. I think there should be some political correctness because you don’t want to offend people,” said Kalinowski. “But people get so offended so easily. Recently it has gotten to the point where you don’t really know what to say. I feel like people are always walking on eggshells trying to be so politically correct that your point doesn’t get across anymore because you’re just trying so hard to censor what you’re saying.”
Jessica Kenty-Drane, sociology professor, said political correctness is a response to social change and, in the political realm, it is also way for people in power to diminish aspects of social change that challenge the status-quo.
“I think political correctness is a way to put a sign up and say we are not comfortable with something and the ‘we’ who are saying it could vary,” said Kenty-Drane. “It could be a conservative front; it could even be on the liberal front.”
Kenty-Drane said the Black Lives Matter movement exemplifies a contemporary social change and the All Lives Matter response would be a form of political correctness. She said the correction implies that the existence of the Black Lives Matters movement would also suggest that all lives do not matter, rather than from a different angle: that, while all lives do matter, there is more of a focus on the specific issues that the black community faces.
Kenty-Drane said, even with the pushback provided by political correctness, society is transitioning to embrace more groups of people.
“It’s a complicated historical moment. We are making social progress and the conversations we’re having are about inclusion,” said Kenty-Drane. “As much as folks are saying going to exclude this group because of different reasons, having that discussion means we’re talking about including people too.”
Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter
PHOTO: Sterling White, sociology graduate student