Political Correctness This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   One of today's hot topics is "political correctness." This idea concerns the "proper" names of races, genders, nationalities, and professions. That means that words which used to be common have been changed in an effort to please everyone and offend no one. For example, garbage men (excuse me, not "men," collectors) are sanitation engineers, and some women would prefer to spell the name of their gender as "womyn." I see this political correctness crusade as a power struggle between radicals who want to have their views pushed on everyone else and realists who know that a garbage man is doing the same duties as a sanitation engineer, no matter what the title.

It is impossible to please everyone in the world at one time. To institute a new vocabulary to please everyone would be impossible. Labels and titles are individual preferences that an entire society should not be forced to accept. Unfortunately, those who are "politically correct" fanatics don't seem to respect individual opinions. While their dedication to this crusade is admirable, I think there are more serious problems in the world today than whether a secretary is called a secretary or a managerial assistant.

While it may sound nice to some people to be known as "vertically challenged" rather than to be called short, the name does not increase their height, nor does it prevent others from noticing their size. If these examples seem trivial, look at racial labels. Some black people prefer the term African-American. Others are satisfied with black. Not every person with dark skin comes from Africa. Who, then, has enough knowledge to tell the public how to label others? Yet whenever I turn on talk shows (like Rush Limbaugh or Colin McEnroe from Connecticut), both hosts and callers give examples of politically correct jargon and forcefully impose their beliefs by arguing with and yelling at their opponents.

I honestly don't understand the hysteria over political correctness. Aside from making someone (but not everyone) feel satisfied on the outside, people will still be the same on the inside, doing the same job, with the same nationality. It is one matter to be tactful and polite; it is another to go overboard and have a "correct" name for everything. Should Orientals be called Asian-Americans or is it more respectful to designate each separate country: Japanese-Americans, Chinese-Americans, or Korean-Americans? Then there are Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans. If you're of multiple descent, then what are you called? Maybe there are some people who prefer to be called Americans if the United States is where they were born and raised. It is a positive notion to be proud of and knowledgeable about your heritage, but it is not a good idea to separate each part of your identity (nationality, religion, occupation) from everyone else. This is the root of discrimination and hatred, where the political correctness revolution has the potential to lead.

We are all different and no language or vocabulary is going to change that. No matter how anyone is referred to, respect them for what makes them who they are. Respect means more than any title. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Sara_96 said...
Dec. 15, 2013 at 11:28 am
I really like your your opinion essay and I am fully agree with you.  it isgood written and you did not make it complicated to understand! 
 
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