is a philosophy discussion group. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month
from 7.30 to 9.30pm
in the The Bull
in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics
. There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!
The term 'political correctness' has become somewhat a term of abuse for those who are pedantic about the use of inclusive and non-offensive language and who want to police other people's use of language. A movement that started out as attempting to promote freedom and equality has now become identified as oppressive and dictatorial and frequently compared with George Orwell's 'Newspeak'.
So is there anything to be said for political correctness or should we all toughen up and stop whining?
- The Euphemism Treadmill
- The term Euphemism Treadmill refers to the way euphemisms shift and develop over time.
A word that is a euphemism in one generation becomes regarded as a crude term and is then replaced by a new euphemism.
Supporting Political Correctness
- Political Correctness from Rationalwiki
- “The term political correctness or 'PC' usually refers to upholding a social taboo against language and attitudes that might be considered offensive. This term has become a bogey-man for the right-wing, who use it to tar anything that runs contrary to their own policies, such as letting women out of the kitchen or gays out of the closet.”
- Political Correctness Gone Mad
- This title, taken from an infamous catch phrase of the Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper/comic book, can refer to one of two things. In some cases, this might be literally about political correctness taken too far. However, in other cases, the accusations of political correctness are sometimes baseless.
- Ethics, Education and Political Correctness
- “No one of good sense or good will would favour something called 'political correctness' as the term is used today. But there are persons of good sense and good will who favour views sarcastically dismissed as 'politically correct' by their opponents.”
- Five Recommendations for a New Politeness
- “Engaging in insensitive speech is unnecessary and should receive society's condemnation, but it is also unnecessary for speech to be made illegal or result in top-down censorship; excesses that tend toward censorship are real concerns.”
- Freedom of Suppression
- “What do you consider to be freedom of expression? The right to offend? The right to be offended? The right to say whatever or to let others say whatever? The right to be politically incorrect, the right to consider political correctness guilt as a form of lingering racism? The right to keep someone from saying things that are politically incorrect? The right to blaspheme? The right to define whatever blasphemy is?”
- Happy Insult Native Americans Month
- Watch the video of the singer Gwen Stefani dressed in a bizarre Indianesque outfit, including a strappy bra top and headband with feather, was withdrawn due to feelings that this might offend native American Indians. In turn this led to a backlash of vitriol against Indians.
- In Defence of Political Correctness
- This is a response to the book Retreat of Reason by Anthony Browne and published by think-tank Civitas.
- Is Political Correctness out of Control
- Another response to the book Retreat of Reason by Anthony Browne and published by think-tank Civitas.
- On Civil Rights, Feminists and Political Correctness
- A student contacts a professor saying he wants to talk about political correctness. These are her answers to his questions.
- Political Correctness from The Economist Style Guide
- This is the advice: “Avoid, if you can, giving gratuitous offence: you risk losing your readers, or at least their goodwill, and therefore your arguments. But pandering to every plea for politically correct terminology may make your prose unreadable, and therefore also unread.”
- Political Correctness from Wikipedia
- “Political correctness (adjectivally, 'politically correct'; both forms commonly abbreviated to 'PC') is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behaviour seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offence in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent.”
- Politically Correct—The Lazy Bully’s Label Of Choice
- “If there is a verbal equivalent of a drive-by shooting, it must be the use of that nasty epithet 'politically correct.' At best, this is a label that allows the intellectually lazy to denigrate anything they don't like without having to offer a reasoned objection. Its political implications, however, are what might prove particularly disturbing—even, perhaps, to some people who casually toss around the phrase.”
- Should Teachers Ban the Use of Offensive Terms
- “How would you respond if someone called you ‘gay’ or ’retarded‘? Some teens may laugh it off, but to others, these words are offensive and harmful.”
- Teacher Fired for Joking
- A veteran teacher in New York City turned to two black students on his first day in class and reportedly said, “I hope I'll be able to tell you apart.” After declining an opportunity to resign the teacher was terminated by the school's Head. The author comments that surely that a teacher would know that “you all look alike” is historically belittling and potentially excruciating for a black teenager to hear. It's not the phrase itself. It is the hundreds of years of accumulated oppression that come with it.
- The Competition Between Religions
- Sunny Hundal points out that religious groups in the UK are competing for the title of 'most offended'.
- Extracts from the Campaign Against Political Correctness
- If you want to know the anti-political-correctness position and agenda read this first as it provides a good summary.
- The 'Politically' Correct Agenda
- Based on an article published in the Freedom Today magazine, John Midgley examines the trend which is strangling free expression. This article is from the 'The Campaign Against Political Correctness' web site.
- If I Were Queen for a Day
- This article comes from the Big Issue and is written by one of the founders of the Campaign Against Political Correctness who like to see themselves as champions of common sense and defenders of liberty against oppressive New Think dictators.
- Christians' Rights Trampled
- Cases in which the right to wear a cross at work, the right to refuse to marry or counsel gay couple were tested in the courts. Wearing a cross was OK if it was not unsafe, but refusing services t gays was interpreted as a clash of rights.
- Freedom of Speech is Being Suppressed by Political Correctness
- “For centuries Britain has been a beacon of liberty of thought, belief and speech, but now the freedom of its intellectual and political life is being subjected to a subtle form of 'censorship', according to a new study of political correctness published by the independent think-tank Civitas.”
- Musings on the Holiday Tree
- “It is one thing to wish someone a 'happy holidays' in reference to the multitude of secular and religious winter holidays. However, it is quite another to declare that an evergreen tree, which has been a symbol of Christmas—the holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ—since the 16th century, is a universal holiday symbol.”
- Political Correctness by Doris Lessing
- “While we have seen the apparent death of Communism, ways of thinking that were either born under Communism or strengthened by Communism still govern our lives. Not all of them are as immediately evident as a legacy of Communism as political correctness.”
- Political Correctness from 'Decline of Ideas'
- “Political Correctness (PC) is the communal tyranny that erupted in the 1980s. It was a spontaneous declaration that particular ideas, expressions and behaviour, which were then legal, should be forbidden by law, and people who transgressed should be punished.”
- The End Of Political Correctness
- “The expression 'politically correct' or 'political correctness' can be traced back to 1920s Germany, when communist academia sought to impose their views on students. The term became more frequently used in the 1960s and 1970s by suburban bleeding-heart liberals, feminists and progressives who were intent on impacting the media, while leaving an emotional imprint on the Baby Boomer generation.”
- The Problem With Political Correctness
- “The political correctness movement has gone way too far. While the original intent of political correctness may have been good (to encourage tact and sensitivity to others' feelings around issues of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and such), the effect of political correctness has been to make everyone avoid these topics altogether—thereby hindering our ability to get comfortable in living and working with those who are different from us.”
- What is Political Correctness and Why Does it Matter
- “When we speak the truth, we are correct. When we do not speak the truth because it would be politically unacceptable to admit to believing it, we are politically correct.”
Urban Myths about Political Correctness
- Baa Baa White Sheep Revised
- A (false) story that a local council banned the singing of 'Baa Baa Blacksheep' in a nursery school and replaced in the Baa Baa Multicoloured Sheep'.
- Education Nursery opts for 'Rainbow' sheep
- Cookie Monster Becomes Veggie Monster
- The Cookie Monster from Sesame Street began eating fewer biscuits and more vegetables in an effort to influence children to eat more sensibly. This gave rise to the (false) story that he was to be renamed the 'Veggie Monster'.
- On Winterval and the Mail
- The (false) story that Birmingham council replaced Christmas with 'Winterval' in an attempt to ban Christmas. The Daily Mail, who gave the story legs in the first place, later retracted the story.
- Pepsi Removes 'Under God'
- The story that Pepsi (and Coca Cola) issued a special edition patriotic can with the words 'One Nation' but omitting 'Under God'. This was incorrectly interpreted as a piece of political correctness.
- Piggy bank ban an urban myth
- It was reported in some newspapers that Halifax and NatWest banks were dropping piggy banks from their advertising campaigns as this night offend Muslims. It was true that they were dropping the piggies but not for political correctness reasons.
- Santa's 'Ho Ho Ho' Changed to 'Ha Ha Ha'
- In 2007 it was reported from Australia that Santas had been issued a prohibition against saying “Ho ho ho!” because 'Ho' is American slang for a prostitute and therefore demeaning to women. The change to “Ha ha Ha!” was true but not for the reasons given.
- White House Ban on 'Christmas' Trees
- “It was announced that there will not be Christmas trees at the White house this year. They will be called Holiday Trees. Obama says this is no longer a Christian Country, it's a country of many faiths.”—FALSE!
- Winterval (Wikipedia article)
- Winterval was a season of public events in Birmingham, England organised by Birmingham City Council in 1997 and in 1998. The intention was to encourage people into the newly rejuvenated city centre with secular and religious events. The name ‘Winterval’ has since become used in the UK as shorthand for what are presented as attempts to ‘rebrand’ Christmas so as not to exclude non-Christians.