Politically Correct Language

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Politically correct language is language that avoids offending or ostracizing particular groups of people – the word “homosexual” is the politically correct version of the word “faggot”. While politically correct language prevents conflict, and improves individuals and communities, it also has limitations. Sometimes it can disrupt the meaning and impact of the message we are trying to portray. Because of this, it is important to find an extent of political correctness that still enables freedom of speech.

While people can define us by the language we use, the language we use also defines us. Being politically correct can make us better people. The way the receiver of our message construes our message determines whether it is politically correct. What is considered politically correct varies from person to person; while one Asian might find the term “chink” humorous, another might find it degrading. As a result, being politically correct requires assessing how the receiver of our message differs from ourselves, and how we can remain tactful despite these differences. This forces us to accept that people have varying beliefs; sometime sit even forces us to refine our own.

Similarly, while we can define a community by the language the people within that community use, the language the people within a community use defines the relationships within that community. Being politically correct can improve the community we live in by creating an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable with sharing their ideas, without feeling restrained by the fear of being penalized for thinking differently. This enables us to productively debate diverse viewpoints, and broaden our own. It ensures that the future generation will learn how to be tolerant from a very young age, which is essential for the development of society.

While being politically correct seems ideal, it also has limitations. Take the news. People trust the news to objectively impart what is happening in the...
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