Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion?

Somewhere, hidden in one of my countless posts, I might have written something about political correctness, and me not caring about it. I didn’t lie about it, but I also didn’t exactly tell the truth.

Political correctness gets in the way a lot. Calling gypsies by their tribal names just makes things confusing, without making hem better. Referring to anyone who isn’t white as colored still doesn’t remove the association of superiority/inferiority most people have with race. You don’t want to believe it, but you have those ideas. Being ashamed of them is good, it means you are aware of something that is wrong in this world. Today’s politically correct word is added to the array of derogatory words tomorrow, so someone will have to come up with a new word.

In this manner, political correctness perpetuates the prejudices and negative emotions towards other races, genders, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, and so forth, than those in power. Those in power have created political correctness to maintain that power. Ok, this is starting to sound like a rant. As a tall, white, blond, educated, straight male from central Europe with a christian background and a job, I am actually considered to be rather close to the center of power. I’d say it’s a fair assumption that I belong to the top 10% of the World, by those standards, i.e. citizens of the USA, Japan, Germany, Great Britain and France, a few small countries, and the ruling class of any other country. So, why am I ranting against my own group? I digress.

Political correctness is a basic form of diplomacy. If you want to be diplomatic, there are words you can’t use, unless you aim to offend. As I’ve written earlier, today’s political correct is tomorrows insult, so knowing what people say today is a way of knowing which words you don’t want to use at you next ethnic wedding/birthday/diplomatic reception. So, in a way, it is useful

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One thought on “Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion?

  1. My famous one is calling non-native inhabitants of a country ‘people with migration background’ (in Austria… ‘Migrationshintergrund’… I am not sure about Germany).
    As far as I understood the theory says that language affects perception and avoiding ‘derogative’ terms should change society’s overall attitude (sort of).
    However, I think the main issue is a practical one – you simply cannot use some of those politically correct but contrived and lengthy terms in everyday language. Of course I am also thinking of the infamous ‘male+female’ capital I. How to pronounce that?

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