Friday, January 25, 2008

Politically incorrect

By Sean O’Brien
News Editor

Imagine you’re standing in line to get a coffee, and you step up to the register to place your order. You place your order, “Black with sugar, please,” and that’s when you hear a voice to your left chime in: “You should say plain; you don’t want to offend anyone.” Yes, that’s right; this situation actually happened to me not long ago and caused me to think: what has this country come to where people can potentially get offended for a simple thing like a coffee order? Maybe political correctness has gone too far.

I love this country, and I think that everyone should do their best to live together harmoniously, but when I have people getting offended at me calling my coffee black, what has the country and its people come to? Have we become too cautious? Partially to blame are ourselves, what with Americans’ sue-happy nature and love of labeling people. Saying just about anything today can be misconstrued to be a racist, sexist, or anything ending in –ist comment, and in turn results in a nice little piece of paper in your mailbox alerting you to the fact someone’s suing you back to your adolescence (i.e., when you were poor). Even if the lawsuit doesn’t stick, you are still weighed and tried in the court of opinion and automatically labeled as whatever your accuser said.

Political correctness has become such a way of life that we can’t even communicate directly anymore or say what we mean because we’re so frightened of being misjudged for it. This has permeated into every facet of our lives, from ‘sensitivity training’ in the workplace to politicians trying so hard to kiss everyone’s posteriors and not offend anyone that you can’t actually tell what they believe.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not talking about going around and saying every offensive thing your mind can think up. What I am saying is that maybe we’ve become so worried about offending each other that we have effectively killed our abilities to get along, all because we’ve become so engrossed with ‘being p.c.’

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