Political Correctness: Good or Bad?

Two of my best friends in high school couldn’t have been more different. One was from Charlotte, North Carolina. Raised as a true southerner, she had a very conservative set of beliefs. She had never been exposed to a diverse community and, as a result, struggled to adapt to our multicultural high school. She was incredibly outspoken and was a minority with her super conservative beliefs. Some could label her racist, but I believe that her attitudes were a result of her southern upbringing. On the other hand, my other best friend was the complete opposite. She was an environmentally conscious, liberal, accepting person. To say that their personalities clashed is an understatement. There were many tearful arguments, deep-rooted political clashes, and unfortunate friendship issues over taboo subjects.

I was in the middle of this. My personal views aside, seeing two people clash over issues like these was upsetting to me. Even though they were expressing their own personal views and engaging in discourse, it upset me because I don’t like seeing disagreement. Unfortunately, I think that makes me a byproduct of today’s society. Our generation is primarily focused on making everything agreeable and comfortable. Very rarely is this type of conversation surrounding gender, race, and politics considered acceptable and appropriate because they’re not politically correct. Making someone feel badly because you have different personal views is entirely frowned upon. I think that this is entirely a result of the emphasis our society puts on political correctness.

This leads to the ultimate question: is our country too politically correct? Is political correctness appropriate? I believe that there is a lot of political correctness in our society, but I can’t entirely decide if that’s appropriate. For example, the situation between my two friends made me horribly uncomfortable because I don’t like that kind of disagreement. Seeing people collide over such personal values is upsetting, and I think that’s because it doesn’t happen often. Discussion is crucial for social movements and progress, so I believe that our reliance on what we term “political correctness” is detrimental to us, even though we think that it helps.


4 responses to “Political Correctness: Good or Bad?

  1. I just have a few thoughts. One, does the fact that your one friend was raised with southern views have her views correct and tolerable? I personally have talks about race a lot with my friends. It is not an ideal conversation and in fact we tend to get really annoyed when the issue of race if brought up but it is hard to ignore something that deeply affects you. I think conversations about race, sexuality and gender are important rather than just assuming or stereotyping.

    • I agree. I believe that these types of conversations are important, but I think it was to conflict over these beliefs that was what made me uncomfortable. I was exposed to very different opinions, and their inability to accept each others individual thoughts was what upset me the most.

  2. I also experienced this with a number of friends in high school and found that while uncomfortable, it did allow for an exchange of important ideas. Diversity is an appealing characteristic for educational establishments but it can also lead to the conflict you speak of between otherwise close friends. I often think that while political correctness can go to far, it is always important establish a level of respect with the person you are debating with.

  3. Hey, stupid WP erased my comment which was before Felicia’s. Grrrr.

    Ok, I agree with her, Southern does not equal racist, as this sentence could imply. “Some could label her racist, but I believe that her attitudes were a result of her southern upbringing. ”

    Are she and I being “too PC” to point this out?

    I went to HS in the South, was raised there, and in our Senior Lounge was a confederate flag. When the faculty told us to take it down, some of my classmates whinged and said “Awww, it’s just a sign of rebellion. What about our right to self-expression?” Well, not all of us agreed with that minority.

    Anyway, if you define PC as unwilling to broach certain topics out of concern for giving offense, I think that it as a case of over-politeness. Everyone in my parent’s generation, especially those from the Midwest, were raised to never talk about religion, money, or politics. So, I think self-editing due to over-politeness is more of an American quality than any recent trend towards PC-ness among your generation.

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