The attitudes and opinions associated with “Politically Correct” (PC) language are widely varied, but in general, there are three main categories into which people fall: those for the PC movement; those against the PC movement; and those indifferent, adapting or ignorant to the PC movement. PC stemmed from an increasing number of people in the 1980s wanting to eradicate what they saw to be prejudice through the use of euphemisms and alternative terms. This built up momentum with the formation of progressive and activist groups (who were advocates of minority rights), which attracted extremists alongside moderates, and by the 1990s the movement was widely referred to as Political Correctness. Though some critics of PC may disagree, a role does exist for non-discriminatory language in the 21st Century, though the line-drawing is often controversial.
According to the proponents of “Politically Correct” language, there definitely exists a role for non-discriminatory language in the 21st century. In a time rife with racism, sexism, ageism, religious intolerance and xenophobia, the impacts of discrimination in language are clearer than ever before. They therefore state that non-discriminatory is needed to serve as a means to help minimise the potential for misunderstandings, offence and discrimination. The word ‘help’ is the crucial part of that sentence, as a change in language is only a small step toward equality. However, there is a valid point in pro-PC arguments: discriminatory language perpetuates inequalities. But how far should one take this non-discriminatory concept and how should one apply it? Where does one stop in the march against discrimination and prejudice? Though PC activists may still be unwilling to admit, it would be utterly futile to modify the language and its lexicon when the underlying inequalities still exist and the discrimination and prejudice still permeate society. An excellent example of this is the way in which society has tainted the...
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