Political correctness

Political correctness

Overview
Political correctness is a term which denotes language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent. In current usage, the term is primarily pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

, while the term politically incorrect has been used as an implicitly positive self-description.
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Quotations

"Political correctness has changed everything. People forget that political correctness used to be called spastic gay talk"

Frankie Boyle, Mock The Week.

Immoral (definition): Obsolete expression meaning "politically incorrect".

Richard Summerbell, Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary, 1985
Encyclopedia
Political correctness is a term which denotes language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent. In current usage, the term is primarily pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

, while the term politically incorrect has been used as an implicitly positive self-description. Examples of the latter include the conservative The Politically Incorrect Guide
The Politically Incorrect Guide
The Politically Incorrect Guide is a book series by Regnery Publishing presenting conservative or what the publishers of the books consider, politically incorrect beliefs on various topics. Each book is written by a different author and generally presents a conservative or libertarian viewpoint on...

published by the Regnery editorial house and the television talk show Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect is a late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002. It premiered on Comedy Central from 1993 to 1997, and later on ABC in 1997, which cancelled it in 2002....

. In these cases, the term politically incorrect connotes language, ideas, and behavior unconstrained by a perceived orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 or by concerns about offending or expressing bias regarding various groups of people.

Early usages


Early usages of the phrase "politically correct" have been found in various contexts, which may not relate to the current terminology.
Examples of the term can be found as early as the 18th century. The previous meaning was 'in line with prevailing political thought or policy'. The term previously used 'correctness' in its literal sense and without any particular reference to language that might be considered offensive or discriminatory. For example, J. Wilson's comments in U.S. Republic, 1793:

"The states, rather than the people, for whose sake the states exist, are frequently the objects which attract and arrest our principal attention... Sentiments and expressions of this inaccurate kind prevail in our common, even in our convivial, language... ‘The United States,’ instead of the ‘People of the United States,’ is the toast given. This is not politically correct."

In New Left rhetoric


By 1970, New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

 proponents had adopted the term political correctness. In the essay The Black Woman, Toni Cade Bambara
Toni Cade Bambara
Toni Cade Bambara, born Miltona Mirkin Cade was an African-American author, documentary film-maker, social activist and college professor.- Biography :...

 says: ". . . a man cannot be politically correct and a [male] chauvinist too." The New Left later re-appropriated the term political correctness as satirical self-criticism; per Debra Shultz: "Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New Left, feminists, and progressives . . . used their term politically correct ironically, as a guard against their own orthodoxy in social change efforts". Hence, it is a popular English usage in the underground comic book Merton of the Movement, by Bobby London
Bobby London
Bobby London is an American underground comix and mainstream comics artist.-Biography:London created his underground newspaper comic strip Merton, in his native New York in 1969 and the raunchy Dirty Duck strip in 1971...

, while ideologically sound, an alternative term, followed a like lexical path, appearing in Bart Dickon
Bart Dickon
Bart Dickon is a character created by artist and writer Borin Van Loon. Dickon, styled as 'The Ideologically-Sound Secret Agent', first appeared in comic strip form in the British publication 'Brain Damage' in the late eighties. This surrealist collage comic strip was entitled 'A Severed Head'...

’s satirical comic strips. Moreover, Ellen Willis
Ellen Willis
Ellen Jane Willis was an American left-wing political essayist, journalist, activist and pop music critic.-Biography:...

 says: " . . . in the early ’80s, when feminists
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 used the term political correctness, it was used to refer sarcastically to the anti-pornography movement
Anti-pornography movement
The term anti-pornography movement is used to describe those who argue that pornography has a variety of harmful effects, such as encouragement of human trafficking, desensitization, pedophilia, dehumanization, sexual exploitation, sexual dysfunction, and inability to maintain healthy sexual...

’s efforts to define a ‘feminist sexuality’ ".

Current usage


Widespread use of the term politically correct and its derivatives began when it was adopted as a pejorative term by the political right in the 1990s, in the context of the Culture Wars. Writing in the New York Times in 1990, Richard Bernstein
Richard Bernstein
Richard Bernstein is an American journalist, columnist, and author. He writes the Letter from America column for The International Herald Tribune...

 noted "The term 'politically correct,' with its suggestion of Stalinist orthodoxy, is spoken more with irony and disapproval than with reverence. But across the country the term p.c., as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities." Bernstein referred to a meeting of the Western Humanities Conference in Berkeley, California
Berkeley, California
Berkeley is a city on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay in Northern California, United States. Its neighbors to the south are the cities of Oakland and Emeryville. To the north is the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington...

, on "'Political Correctness' and Cultural Studies," which examined "what effect the pressure to conform to currently fashionable ideas is having on scholarship". Bernstein also referred to "p.c.p" for "politically correct people," a term which did not take root in popular discussion.

Within a few years, this previously obscure term featured regularly in the lexicon of the conservative social and political challenges against curriculum
Curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

 expansion and progressive
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 teaching methods in US high schools and universities. In 1991, addressing a graduating class of the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

, U.S. President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 spoke against "a movement [that would] declare certain topics 'off-limits,' certain expressions 'off-limits', even certain gestures 'off-limits'" in allusion to liberal Political Correctness. The most common usage here is as a pejorative term to refer to excessive deference to particular sensibilities at the expense of other considerations. The converse term "politically incorrect" came into use as an implicit term of self-praise, indicating that the user was not afraid to ignore constraints associated with political correctness. Examples of the latter include the conservative Politically Incorrect Guides
The Politically Incorrect Guide
The Politically Incorrect Guide is a book series by Regnery Publishing presenting conservative or what the publishers of the books consider, politically incorrect beliefs on various topics. Each book is written by a different author and generally presents a conservative or libertarian viewpoint on...

 published by the Regnery editorial house and the television talk show Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect is a late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002. It premiered on Comedy Central from 1993 to 1997, and later on ABC in 1997, which cancelled it in 2002....

.

The central uses of the term relate to particular issues of race, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual preference, culture and worldviews, and encompass both the language in which issues are discussed and the viewpoints that are expressed. Proponents of the view that differences in IQ test scores between blacks and whites are (primarily or largely) genetically determined state that criticism of these views is based on political correctness.

Examples of language commonly referred to as "politically correct" include:
  • "Mentally challenged" in place of "Retarded" and other terms
  • "African American
    African American
    African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

    " in place of "Black," "Negro" and other terms. (However, "Black" is used in English-speaking countries other than the U.S.)
  • "Native American
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

    " (or "First Nations" in Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    ) in place of "Indian"
  • "Caucasian
    White people
    White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

    " in place of "White", and other terms
  • "Gender-neutral" terms such as "firefighter" in place of "fireman"
  • The use of the word "gender" instead of the word "sex" to distinguish males and females
  • Terms relating to disability, such as "visually challenged" or "hearing impaired" in place of "blind" or "deaf"
  • "Persons of color
    Person of color
    Person of color is a term used, primarily in the United States, to describe all people who are not white. The term is meant to be inclusive among non-white groups, emphasizing common experiences of racism...

    " in place of "ethnic minorities" or "non-whites" in countries populated predominantly by people who are white.
  • "Holiday", "winter" or "festive" in place of "Christmas"


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, "political correctness gone mad" is a widely used catchphrase associated with the conservative Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

newspaper.

In a more general sense, any policy regarded by the speaker as representing an imposed orthodoxy, such as the claim that global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 is a serious problem requiring a policy response, may be criticized as "politically correct."

As a linguistic concept



In addressing the linguistic problem of naming, Edna Andrews says that using "inclusive" and "neutral" language is based upon the concept that "language represents thought, and may even control thought."
This claim has been derived from the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects the ways in which its speakers are able to conceptualize their world, i.e. their world view...

, which states that a language’s grammatical categories shape the speaker’s ideas and actions; although Andrews says that moderate conceptions of the relation between language and thought are sufficient to support the "reasonable deduction ... [of] cultural change via linguistic change".

Other cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

 and cognitive linguistics
Cognitive linguistics
In linguistics, cognitive linguistics refers to the branch of linguistics that interprets language in terms of the concepts, sometimes universal, sometimes specific to a particular tongue, which underlie its forms...

 works indicate that word-choice has significant "framing effects
Framing (social sciences)
A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation — that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes—that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events. In simpler terms, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences. They use these...

" on the perceptions, memories, and attitudes of speakers and listeners. The relevant empirical question is whether or not sexist language
Gender-neutral language
Gender-neutral language, gender-inclusive language, inclusive language, or gender neutrality is linguistic prescriptivism that aims to eliminate reference to gender in terms that describe people...

 promotes sexism, i.e. sexist thought and action.

Advocates of inclusive language defend it as inoffensive-language usage whose goal is multi-fold:
  1. The rights, opportunities, and freedoms of certain people are restricted because they are reduced to stereotype
    Stereotype
    A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

    s.
  2. Stereotyping is mostly implicit, unconscious, and facilitated by the availability of pejorative labels and terms.
  3. Rendering the labels and terms socially unacceptable, people then must consciously think about how they describe someone unlike themselves.
  4. When labeling is a conscious activity, the described person's individual merits become apparent, rather than his or her stereotype.


Critics of such arguments, and of inclusive language in general, commonly use the terminology of "political correctness".

A common criticism is that terms chosen by an identity group, as acceptable descriptors of themselves, then pass into common usage, including usage by the racists and sexists whose racism and sexism, et cetera, the new terms mean to supersede. Alternately put, the new terms gradually acquire the same disparaging connotations of the old terms. The new terms are thus devalued, and another set of words must be coined, giving rise to lengthy progressions such as Negro, Colored, Black, Afro-American, African-American, and so on, (cf. Euphemism treadmill).

Criticisms


Discussion of political correctness, to the extent that it uses the term and accepts the existence of political correctness as a significant force, is almost invariably critical.

General


Structuralist
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

 philosopher Julia Kristeva
Julia Kristeva
Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, sociologist, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s. She is now a Professor at the University Paris Diderot...

, seen as a theorist who was instrumental in providing the philosophical basis for American political correctness, denounced political correctness in 2001 in New York Times and said her works have been distorted by Americans. She labeled identity politics
Identity politics
Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the self interest and perspectives of self-identified social interest groups and ways in which people's politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through race, class, religion, sexual orientation or traditional dominance...

 and political correctness in general as totalitarian.

In The Abolition of Britain, Peter Hitchens
Peter Hitchens
Peter Jonathan Hitchens is an award-winning British columnist and author, noted for his traditionalist conservative stance. He has published five books, including The Abolition of Britain, A Brief History of Crime, The Broken Compass and most recently The Rage Against God. Hitchens writes for...

 says: “What Americans describe with the casual phrase . . . ‘political correctness’ is the most intolerant system of thought to dominate the British Isles since the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

”.

The academic Camille Paglia
Camille Paglia
Camille Anna Paglia , is an American author, teacher, and social critic. Paglia, a self-described dissident feminist, has been a Professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1984...

 said that PC empowers the enemies of the Left, and alienates the masses against feminism
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

.

Accusations of exclusion from PC of certain groups


An article by Larry Elder
Larry Elder
Laurence Allen "Larry" Elder is an American radio and television personality. His radio program The Larry Elder Show airs weekdays 9 AM to noon on talk radio 790 KABC in Los Angeles, California...

 in FrontPage Magazine referred to an incident on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect where the term "white trash" was used in reference to guests on the Jerry Springer Show and asked 'Why Is It Okay to Say "White Trash?"'. Commenting on this, and citing an instance of the term in a glossy magazine, blogger Ed Driscoll asked "Why Is "White Trash" An Acceptable Phrase In PC America?".

Accusations of cultural Marxism



University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors
Alan Charles Kors
Alan Charles Kors is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches the intellectual history of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has received both the Lindback Foundation Award and the Ira Abrams Memorial Award for distinguished college teaching. Dr. Kors graduated summa...

 and lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate
Harvey A. Silverglate
Harvey A. Silverglate is an attorney based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the co-founder, with Alan Charles Kors, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education , for which he also serves as the current Chairman of the Board of Directors.He holds degrees from Princeton University ...

 connect political correctness to Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

. They claim that liberal ideas of free speech are repressive, arguing that such "Marcusean logic" is the base of speech codes, which are seen by some as censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

, in US universities. Kors and Silvergate later established the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is a non-profit group founded in 1999 and focused on civil liberties in academia in the United States...

, which campaigns against PC speech codes.

Some conservative critics claim that political correctness is a Marxist undermining of Western values. William S. Lind and Patrick Buchanan have characterized PC as a technique originated by the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

, through what Buchanan describes as "Cultural Marxism
Cultural Marxism
Cultural Marxism is a term referring to a group of Marxists who have sought to apply critical theory to matters of family composition, gender, race, and cultural identity within Western society.-Explanation of the "Cultural Marxism" theory:...

". In The Death of the West
The Death of the West
The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Culture and Civilization is a 2001 book by paleoconservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan.-Description of Book:...

, Buchanan says: “Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism, a regime to punish dissent and to stigmatize social heresy as the Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance.”

Higher education



A conservative criticism in the United States of higher education is that the political views of the faculty are much more liberal than the general population which contributes to an atmosphere of political correctness.

Counterclaims


It has been argued, particularly by writers on the political left, that there is no movement advocating "political correctness", and that many specific claims put forward as evidence of political correctness are spurious, exaggerated or urban myths.

Political correctness as an engineered political term


A major criticism of the term stems from critics' claims of how it has been used by conservatives for political gain, considering it to play to voters' fears as a red herring
Red herring
A red herring is a deliberate attempt to divert attention.Red herring may refer to:* Red herring , the informal fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question....

 as well as an attack on the political left. Some commentators claimed that after 1980, right-wing American conservatives re-engineered the term to ideologically re-frame US politics as a culture war
Culture war
The culture war in American usage is a metaphor used to claim that political conflict is based on sets of conflicting cultural values. The term frequently implies a conflict between those values considered traditionalist or conservative and those considered progressive or liberal...

. Hutton reports:


Political correctness is one of the brilliant tools that the American Right developed in the mid-1980s, as part of its demolition of American liberalism. . . . What the sharpest thinkers on the American Right saw quickly was that by declaring war on the cultural manifestations of liberalism — by levelling the charge of "political correctness" against its exponents — they could discredit the whole political project.


Moreover, the commentators claimed there never was a “Political Correctness movement” in the US, and that many who use the term do so to distract attention from substantive debate about racial, class and gender discrimination and unequal legal treatment. Similarly, Polly Toynbee
Polly Toynbee
Polly Toynbee is a British journalist and writer, and has been a columnist for The Guardian newspaper since 1998. She is a social democrat and broadly supports the Labour Party, while urging it in many areas to be more left-wing...

 argued that “the phrase is an empty right-wing smear designed only to elevate its user”.

Commenting on the UK's 2009 Equality Bill, Toynbee wrote that:

The phrase "political correctness" was born as a coded cover for all who still want to say Paki, spastic or queer, all those who still want to pick on anyone not like them, playground bullies who never grew up. The politically correct society is the civilised society, however much some may squirm at the more inelegant official circumlocutions designed to avoid offence.

False accusations of political correctness


In the United Kingdom, some newspapers reported that a school had altered the nursery rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to read “Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep”. But it is also reported that a better description is that the Parents and Children Together (PACT) nursery had the children “turn the song into an action rhyme. . . . They sing happy, sad, bouncing, hopping, pink, blue, black and white sheep etc.” That nursery rhyme story was circulated and later extended to suggest that like language bans applied to the terms “black coffee” and “blackboard”. The Private Eye magazine reported that like stories, all baseless, ran in the British press since The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

first published them in 1986. See also Loony Left#Baa Baa White Sheep.

Political correctness and science


Among scientists, "correctness" (of procedures, results, or scientific claims) derives from the factual truth of the matter or the soundness of the reasoning by which it can be deduced from observations and first principles.
When publication, teaching, and public funding of science is decided by peer committees, academic standards, and elected or appointed boards, the allegation can arise that a work's acceptability has been assessed "politically". Professor J. I. Katz applies the term PC to censure characterized by emotional, rather than rational discourse.

Groups opposing certain generally accepted scientific views on evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

, global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, passive smoking
Passive smoking
Passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke, called secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke , from tobacco products used by others. It occurs when tobacco smoke permeates any environment, causing its inhalation by people within that environment. Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke causes...

, AIDS, and other politically contentious scientific matters argue that PC is responsible for the failure of their perspectives to receive a fair public hearing; thus, in Lamarck's Signature: How Retrogenes are Changing Darwin's Natural Selection Paradigm, Assoc. Prof. Edward J. Steele
Edward J. Steele
Edward J. Steele is an Australian molecular immunologist formerly with the University of Wollongong, now listed as a visiting fellow at the Murdoch University. Steele's research has led a resurgent interest in the French scientist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck, the man who developed the first theory of...

 says: "We now stand on the threshold of what could be an exciting new era of genetic research. . . . However, the 'politically correct' thought agendas of the neo-Darwinists of the 1990s are ideologically opposed to the idea of 'Lamarckian Feedback
Lamarckism
Lamarckism is the idea that an organism can pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring . It is named after the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck , who incorporated the action of soft inheritance into his evolutionary theories...

', just as the Church was opposed to the idea of evolution based on natural selection in the 1850s!"

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science is a 2005 book by Tom Bethell, the third book in the Politically Incorrect Guides series published by Regnery Publishing, after the Guides to American History and Islam....

, by Tom Bethell
Tom Bethell
Tom Bethell is a journalist who writes mainly on economic and scientific issues, and is known for his support of the market economy, political conservatism, and fringe science. He says that neither evolution nor intelligent design is falsifiable....

, is a comprehensive presentation argument that mainstream science is dominated by politically correct thinking. Bethell rejects mainstream views about evolution and global warming, and supports AIDS denialism.

Right-wing political correctness


Accusations of political correctness, in the sense of enforced orthodoxy, have also been directed against the political right. For example, the intense backlash against country band the Dixie Chicks
Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks are an American country band which has also successfully crossed over into other genres. The band is composed of founding members Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison, and lead singer Natalie Maines...

, for remarks critical of President George W. Bush onstage in London in 2003, was described by newspaper columnist Don Williams as the price for freely speaking political views disapproved by supporters of the Iraq War. Williams went on to say, “the ugliest form of political correctness occurs whenever there’s a war on. Then you’d better watch what you say.” He noted that Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Hart Coulter is an American lawyer, conservative social and political commentator, author, and syndicated columnist. She frequently appears on television, radio, and as a speaker at public events and private events...

 and Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly (commentator)
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He is the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, which is the most watched cable news television program on American television...

 called the remarks in question "treasonous".

Bill Maher
Bill Maher
William "Bill" Maher, Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, television host, political commentator, author and actor. Before his current role as the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher hosted a similar late-night talk show called Politically Incorrect originally on Comedy Central and...

's show Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect is a late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002. It premiered on Comedy Central from 1993 to 1997, and later on ABC in 1997, which cancelled it in 2002....

lost some of its main advertisers after remarks he made about the 9/11 hijackers including that the hijackers were not cowards but that it was cowardly for the United States to launch cruise missiles on targets thousands of miles away. He later apologized. White House press secretary under President Bush at the time, Ari Fleischer stated, "people have to watch what they say and watch what they do". Fleischer later stated that this referred to both Maher and remarks against Arabs by Representative John Cooksey that were considered disparaging. Two journalists lost their jobs soon after the 9/11 attacks for statements critical of the president.

Linguistic examples of right-wing adjustments to language criticized as examples of political correctness include renaming French fries
French fries
French fries , chips, fries, or French-fried potatoes are strips of deep-fried potato. North Americans tend to refer to any pieces of deep-fried potatoes as fries or French fries, while in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, long, thinly cut slices of deep-fried potatoes are...

 “Freedom fries
Freedom fries
Freedom fries is a political euphemism for French fries used by some people in the United States as a result of anti-French sentiment during the controversy over the U.S. decision to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq. France expressed strong opposition in the United Nations to such an invasion...

”. In 2004, then Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n Labor leader Mark Latham
Mark Latham
Mark William Latham , an author and former Australian politician, was leader of the Federal Parliamentary Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from December 2003 to January 2005....

 described conservative calls for "civility" as "The New Political Correctness".

Satirical use


Political correctness often is satirized, for example in the Politically Correct Manifesto (1992), by Saul Jerushalmy and Rens Zbignieuw X, and Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times is a book by James Finn Garner, published in 1994, in which Garner satirizes the trend toward political correctness and censorship of children's literature, with an emphasis on humor and parody...

(1994), by James Finn Garner
James Finn Garner
James Finn Garner is an American writer and satirist based in Chicago. He is the author of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Politically Correct Holiday Stories, and Apocalypse Wow.-External links:*...

, presenting fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

s re-written from an exaggerated PC perspective.

Other examples include the television program Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect
Politically Incorrect is a late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002. It premiered on Comedy Central from 1993 to 1997, and later on ABC in 1997, which cancelled it in 2002....

, George Carlin
George Carlin
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums....

’s "Euphemisms" routine, and The Politically Correct Scrapbook. The popularity of the South Park
South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

libertarian cartoon program led to the creation of the term South Park Republican
South Park Republican
"South Park Republican" was a term that first circulated in blogs and articles on the Internet between the years circa 2001 and 2002, used to describe what some modern commentators describe as a "new wave" or generation of young adults and teenagers who hold center-right political beliefs that are,...

by Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Sullivan
Andrew Michael Sullivan is an English author, editor, political commentator and blogger. He describes himself as a political conservative. He has focused on American political life....

, and later the book South Park Conservatives
South Park Conservatives
South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias is a book written by Brian C. Anderson. It explores the idea that the traditional mass media in the United States are biased towards liberals, but through new media, such as the Internet, cable television, and talk radio,...

by Brian C. Anderson
Brian C. Anderson
Brian C. Anderson is the editor of City Journal, a quarterly magazine, published by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.-Background:Anderson received his BA and MA from Boston College...

.

Replying to the “Freedom Fries” matter, wits suggested that the Fama-French
Eugene Fama
Eugene Francis "Gene" Fama is an American economist, known for his work on portfolio theory and asset pricing, both theoretical and empirical. He is currently Robert R...

 model used in corporate finance
Corporate finance
Corporate finance is the area of finance dealing with monetary decisions that business enterprises make and the tools and analysis used to make these decisions. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize shareholder value while managing the firm's financial risks...

 be renamed the “Fama-Freedom” model.

British comedian Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee is an English stand-up comedian, writer and director known for being one half of the 1990s comedy duo Lee and Herring, and for co-writing and directing the critically acclaimed and controversial stage show Jerry Springer - The Opera...

 also satirized the oft-used phrase of criticism for political correctness: "it's political correctness gone mad". In which Lee, himself, criticized people for overusing this phrase without even understanding the concept of political correctness (including many people's confusion of it with Health & Safety laws). He in particular criticized Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn
Richard Littlejohn
Richard William Littlejohn is an English author, broadcaster and journalist. He is noted for his Conservative views and currently writes a twice-weekly column for the Daily Mail....

 for his overzealous use of the phrase.

See also

  • Anti-racist mathematics
    Anti-racist mathematics
    Anti-racist mathematics is a branch of education reform theory that sees a need to form a curriculum to counter a perceived bias in mathematics...

  • Christmas controversy
  • Common Era
    Common Era
    Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

  • Euphemism Treadmill
  • Hate speech
    Hate speech
    Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication that disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic....

  • Identity Politics
    Identity politics
    Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the self interest and perspectives of self-identified social interest groups and ways in which people's politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through race, class, religion, sexual orientation or traditional dominance...

  • Kotobagari
    Kotobagari
    refers to the reluctance to use words that are considered politically incorrect in the Japanese language. For instance words such as , , tsunbo , oshi , kichigai , tosatsujō , and hakuchi are currently not used by the majority of Japanese publishing houses; the publishers often refuse...

    , a similar concept in the Japanese language
    Japanese language
    is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

  • Logocracy
    Logocracy
    Logocracy is the rule of—or government by—words. It is derived from the Greek λόγος - "word" and from κράτος - to "govern". The term can be used either positively, ironically or negatively.-Historical examples:...

  • Newspeak
    Newspeak
    Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, it refers to the deliberately impoverished language promoted by the state. Orwell included an essay about it in the form of an appendix in which the basic principles of the language are explained...

  • Gender-neutral language
    Gender-neutral language
    Gender-neutral language, gender-inclusive language, inclusive language, or gender neutrality is linguistic prescriptivism that aims to eliminate reference to gender in terms that describe people...

    ; See Satiric misspelling (Alternative political spelling) for a Spanish-language example.
  • Pensée unique
    Pensée unique
    The expression "pensée unique" describes the claimed supremacy of neoliberalism as an ideology.-Concept and background understanding:...

  • People-first language
    People-first language
    People-first language is a form of linguistic prescriptivism in English, aiming to avoid perceived and subconscious dehumanization when discussing people with disabilities, as such forming an aspect of disability etiquette....

  • Political consciousness
    Political consciousness
    Following the work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx outlined the workings of a political consciousness.-The politics of consciousness:...

  • Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
    Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
    Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times is a book by James Finn Garner, published in 1994, in which Garner satirizes the trend toward political correctness and censorship of children's literature, with an emphasis on humor and parody...

  • Power (communication)
    Power (communication)
    Power can be described as the capacity of an individual or a group to exert their will over another or others or influence the goals of a relationship. Power is not a characteristic of any one individual, rather, it is defined in terms of relationships and transactions between people...

  • Race-baiting
  • Red-baiting
    Red-baiting
    Red-baiting is the act of accusing, denouncing, attacking or persecuting an individual or group as communist, socialist, or anarchist, or sympathetic toward communism, socialism, or anarchism. The word "red" in "red-baiting" is derived from the red flag signifying radical left-wing politics. In the...

  • Speech code
    Speech code
    A speech code is any rule or regulation that limits, restricts, or bans speech beyond the strict legal limitations upon freedom of speech or press found in the legal definitions of harassment, slander, libel, and fighting words. Such codes are common in the workplace, in universities, and in...

  • Spin
    Spin (public relations)
    In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure...

  • Sprachregelung
    Sprachregelung
    Sprachregelung is a German language term meaning "convention of speech". It refers to a formal or informal agreement, or order, that certain things should be expressed in specific ways in official communications by an organisation or by a political entity...

  • University of Pennsylvania controversies
  • Xenocentrism
    Xenocentrism
    Xenocentrism is a political neologism, coined as the antonym of ethnocentrism. Xenocentrism is the preference for the products, styles, or ideas of someone else's culture rather than of one's own...


Further reading

  • Aufderheide, Patricia. (ed.). 1992. Beyond P.C.: Toward a Politics of Understanding. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press.
  • Berman, Paul. (ed.). 1992. Debating P.C.: The Controversy Over Political Correctness on College Campuses. New York, New York: Dell Publishing.

  • David E. Bernstein, "You Can't Say That! The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws", Cato Institute 2003, 180 pages ISBN 1-930865-53-8
  • William S. Lind
    William S. Lind
    William S. Lind is an American expert on military affairs and a pundit on cultural conservatism.-Education:Lind graduated from Dartmouth College in 1969 and from Princeton University in 1971, where he received a Master's Degree in history.-Military expertise:Alongside several U.S. officers, Lind...

    , "The Origins of Political Correctness", Accuracy in Academia, 2000.
  • Nat Hentoff
    Nat Hentoff
    Nathan Irving "Nat" Hentoff is an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist for United Media and writes regularly on jazz and country music for The Wall Street Journal....

    , Free Speech for Me - But Not for Thee, HarperCollins, 1992, ISBN 0-06-019006-X
  • Diane Ravitch
    Diane Ravitch
    Diane Silvers Ravitch is an historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S...

    , The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, Knopf, 2003, hardcover, 255 page.
  • Nigel Rees, The Politically Correct Phrasebook: what they say you can and cannot say in the 1990s, Bloomsbury, 1993, 192 pages, ISBN 0-7475-1426-7
  • Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society, W.W. Norton, 1998 revised edition, ISBN 0-393-31854-0
  • Howard S. Schwartz, Revolt of the Primitive: An Inquiry into the Roots of Political Correctness, Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003 Revised Paperback Edition ISBN 0-765-80537-5
  • Howard S. Schwartz, Society against Itself: Political Correctness and Organizational Self-Destruction, London: Karnac Books, 2010, ISBN 978 1 85575 763 9
  • Psychodynamics of Political Correctness - Published in Journal of Applied Behavioural Science
  • Debra L. Schultz. 1993. To Reclaim a Legacy of Diversity: Analyzing the "Political Correctness" Debates in Higher Education. New York: National Council for Research on Women.
  • Wilson, John. 1995. The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on High Education. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.

External links