Daly’s Dining Hall excels at storing diverse, colorful, strange and every so often, slightly racist jargon. In those moments when I hear someone share a politically incorrect statement, I cringe and usually fall victim to my anger and disgust with the distasteful comment. Nowadays, being politically correct is vital for anyone to hold and remain in a position of power, but should it be?
Now, I’d rather not take the time to jut my lips forward in a perpetual frown, throw on my blonde wig, toss my hands up and the air and say, “The biggest problem with this country is being politically correct,” as Donald Trump would say. However, if you look past the wild ideas and often horrifyingly rude remarks that leave that man’s mouth, does he have a point?
Constantly forcing people to be politically correct and persecuting those who are not can have its negative effects on our society. How are we supposed to consider ourselves a free nation when we condemn a person for an idea we feel is expressed in a politically incorrect manner? At what point is being politically correct going to hurt our country’s ability to express ideas freely? I’m not encouraging people to speak negatively or publicly toss around racial slurs, but when is an invasion of privacy like that of former-Clippers owner Donald Sterling — racist pig or not — going too far? A private conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend about his racial beliefs was recorded by the woman and displayed for his public crucifixion.
America cannot be considered a free country when a man or woman is unable to freely express ideas in his or her own home, let alone allow those thoughts to enter the marketplace of ideas.
Ironically, the equally offensive terms “racist,” “sexist,” “bigot,” etc. are tossed around so liberally without fully understanding the meaning of each term and the damage that labeling someone as such can cause. For example, if someone were to say “all Hispanics mow lawns,” is that true? — not in the least. Now is the person a “racist”? Being that the term is defined as “a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another,” I’d bet that the person doesn’t mean to say that their race is superior to the Hispanic race.
That is a mild example, but at what point does a person simply suppress the ideas or opinions on topics relating to ethical issues just to be politically correct? Forcing political correctness on citizens and politicians could become so onerous that those individuals choose to avoid speaking on race issues altogether. And if that were to happen, how can society advance?
America was not built on the belief that everyone must suppress his or her ideas for the sake of not offending his or her neighbor. The concept of the First Amendment is that U.S. citizens have the freedom to speak freely no matter how much that speech may offend another person. If we are going to begin punishing and crucifying everyone who says something that we do not agree with, where does it stop? Will people be silenced for supporting a politician with controversial beliefs? Will the hatred for those who engage in hateful speech result in more violence than the speech could have potentially incited in the first place?
The fact of the matter is political correctness only suppresses certain ideologies and allows for the once-suppressed philosophies to capitalize on that suppression.
The weekly editorial expresses the minority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Executive Editor, Thomas Regan.
Printed in the 03/02/16 issue.