“Politically Correct”

There has been a few comments I’ve heard students make recently about being “politically correct” and what I ┬áinfer from their impressions of this term is that being “politically correct” is somehow hindering their ability to be themselves and speak their minds.

First of all, “political correctness” is non-sense. It’s an idea propagated as a weapon to demonstrate that someone else is being too sensitive. That somehow someone is letting the decency of their humanity get a little too in the way. There is a good argument for why not to use it on epinions.com. Maura Cullen (@DrMauraCullen) also has a good explanation of the term in her book 35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say.

These comments usually come up during conversations about George Mason University’s Civility Project. When presented without context, students sometimes seem to believe that Civility is a concept designed to eliminate their ability to speak freely. As the conversation ultimately leads to the first amendment, I speak about the right to free speech being balanced with compassion and understanding of the impact that our speech has on others. I believe that is the basis for civility projects across the country. It’s to challenge people to think about what they’re saying and how that speech is impacting those around them.

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