Credit: Source Unknown
Political correctness is a language. It is actually a language of code. Political correctness is a vocabulary that resembles, but does not actually convey your idea. Politically correct terminology is a substitute language to deal with bias on the surface without ever touching it. It is a defective language because instead of communicating ideas, it avoids them. Political correctness bleaches the flavor from our ideas.
Political correctness is coded language for overtly expressing one's bias. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia are biases that we ALL have. When we are politically correct then we choose to mask our biases with words that jump around the real word we are thinking. We do this not because the topics make others uncomfortable, but because we do not have the proper language to discuss these topics.
We need language that allows us to address our own biases and other people's biases. Without language, we will all continue committing microaggressions against each other. We will continue unintentionally stereotyping, pitying, and isolating our colleagues and clients.
If you do a quick google search of political correctness you will see that some people think that being politically correct means silencing your true ideas. Unfortunately the same authors who are against political correctness offer only one other option: Speak the "truth."
This false dichotomy is what the current political climate is pivoting on. We do not need to subscribe to a binary choice that either one is politically correct or "just plain honest." There is plenty of middle ground that is honest and respectful.
So how do we develop the language that is respectful and truthful at the same time? The journey starts with checking in with our biases, asking ourselves why we believe in certain stereotypes, challenging those stereotypes, and unraveling the thought processes that have solidified those implicit biases. After that hard work is done, the language will come fluidly and fluently.
© 2016 Pooja Kothari, Esq.