To be politically correct

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Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Mississippi. Trump recently tweeted, “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!” Him and many other conservatives are fighting to end the so-called “PC culture”.

Claire Lefton, A&E Chief

Everyone from politicians to news pundits rants and raves about it. Some presidential candidates actively disparage it. The real question is… what is it? What is political correctness?

Merriam-Webster defined “politically correct” as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.”

This idea has permeated popular culture beginning in the 1990s. Since then, it has become more commonplace, much to the chagrin of several media figures such as Donald Trump.

At one of the Republican debates Trump said, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.”

Is political correctness the big evil thing that Trump and so many others like him think it is? Well the answer is both yes and no.

It is true that over-scrutinization by political correctness can come at the detriment of others. Frankly, some people actively search out “problematic” elements of things to be offended by regardless of whether or not they should be offended.

Author BJ Gallagher wrote for The Huffington Post, “How many of us understand these definitions when we call someone a racist or sexist jerk? Jerk, perhaps… but racist or sexist? Perhaps… perhaps not. Do we really understand the seriousness of those labels? Or, are we simply indulging in destructive name-calling based on political correctness?”

On the other hand, there is a strong argument to be made in favor of political correctness. In such a modern and progressive age, it is closed-minded to think that a more archaic worldview is the one everyone should adapt to.

People like Trump who seek to destroy political correctness are ignorant to the root of why it exists in the first place. By watching what we say we are recognizing the validity of the oppressed group and taking them seriously.

Hugh Muir of The Guardian wrote, “The fact is that political correctness has become the complaint of choice for those who don’t like their world…It embraces everything. It means nothing. The term, as bandied about these days, is valueless.”

It is difficult to say who is in the absolute right on the issue of political correctness, but I would argue that no one is. Without the ability to compromise, everybody will be left feeling offended.