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Political Correctness: where is the line drawn?

Illustration of someone handing out candy on Halloween and getting upset at a young girl dressed up as Moana
Illustration by Chance Brown | Staff Illustrator

Lately, it appears that a person cannot say or do anything without being seen as politically incorrect, and it is a ridiculous notion. I do believe there are certain instances where political correctness is needed, but the majority of the time it has become overkill.

Political correctness, according to Google dictionary, is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”

When I think about political correctness I am immediately drawn to thinking about racial slurs, which are absolutely unacceptable. Political correctness is, in fact, necessary and useful in those circumstances.

On the other hand, telling mothers they cannot dress up their daughters as Moana, a Polynesian Disney princess, if they do not look like her while also telling them not to let their daughters look like Elsa because she exemplifies white supremacy is outrageous. While people attempt to paint everything as having to do with race, it does not have to be that way.

At some point, we have to draw the line between calling random things racist or not politically correct and actually targeting the actions that are detrimental to people and ideas in our society. If we want a better community, we do not need to censor each other, but rather figure out where each of us needs further education and understanding.

By understanding each other’s cultures, things that are actually politically incorrect can be identified and changed. However, claiming racism in places where it does not exist, like in a Moana costume, does not do anyone justice.

This country has developed lazy views on what is really right or wrong. Political correctness has gone so far beyond being constructive that, if we were to be honest with ourselves, it has become a tool to use when someone simply does not like what another person does.

People are becoming afraid to share their opinions because of censorship. We continue to silence discussions that need to be had, and that is not the American way. No one has the right to censor someone else because they do not agree with their stance on a certain subject.

Political correctness needs to be separate from opinion. Not everything someone says is filled with hateful undertones. Some people differ in opinion, but that does not mean they should be cast aside as racist, politically incorrect jerks. If that mindset continues, we as human beings are not giving others the same rights to speech that we desire.

There are more than one non-politically correct persons in America. That is an inherent truth. What we need to start targeting is not the people, but the ideas and words. Our community must begin to educate instead of censor. If America censored every “politically incorrect” person, those people would only turn around and work toward censoring us as well.

At the end of the day, being politically correct is important. However, censoring or making someone out to be racist is not right.

By reigning-in the idea of becoming politically correct we could actually make a worthwhile difference, rather than just calling everything we do not like “non-PC.” At some point, we have to decide if it is really worth our time to debate a child’s costume or if we should focus on the real issues.

Kaitlin Evans is a journalism sophomore


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