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  1. #21
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    It's amazing how many people seem to equate being "politically correct" to being "polite" or even just not being a raging asshole to other people. So, if we are talking about political correctness, let's define our terms first, shall we?

    Being "politically correct" means not saying derogatory things about traditionally persecuted groups, because doing so is a type of persecution. That's why there's the word "political" in there. Because if you are dealing with an individual and you say derogatory things about a group this individual belongs to and/or indicate that the individual in question is not even an individual to you, but merely a representative of that group, and that you despise that group, what you are doing is a political act. You might be being an asshole too, but you are doing something distinctly different from (for example) telling someone they are ugly. What you are doing is contributing to the persecution of a group.

    To that end, not being politically correct makes you an even bigger asshole. But sure, if you want to be one, that's your choice. That's the other thing about being "politically correct" is, it's not legally enforced. I.E. you can't go to jail for being politically incorrect. You might want to brace yourself for social consequences, however, i.e. being criticized and being called an asshole. That's freedom of speech at work.

    As for "everybody needing to be offended from time to time"... do you honestly believe that people who belong to persecuted minorities somehow lack reasons/opportunities to be offended in their lives? And even if you did believe such a preposterous thing, how does it make it your job to offend them, or give them a dose of "reality"? In addition, even if you believe that and also believe it's your job to offend people, why do you think it's important for you to offend them in specifically the way that makes the offense politically incorrect, i.e. by invoking and participating in the persecution of the group(s) this person belongs to? Can you not just be offensive in any of a million other ways? It really doesn't take that much effort or imagination...

    It seems to me that people who love to bash "political correctness" are people who are somewhat deficient in social graces and can't seem to avoid offending people whether they meant to or not, but don't want to face social consequences (i.e. being criticized and disliked) for this. That's why they like to conflate "political correctness" to politeness or not offending people. That's a neat little straw man, but it doesn't actually get you off the hook for offensive behavior. Granted, it's almost impossible to go through life without ever offending somebody, but the correct response to "accidentally" giving offense is not by doubling down on being an inconsiderate asshole. Also, I realize that public opinion is not even remotely infallible, but maybe if something you are doing is consistently offensive to a lot of people, it's worth re-considering your position every once in a while (even if you keep coming to the same conclusion), just, you know, to see if you might think of new reasons why everybody is on your case about it.
    The working definition of "political correctness" has evolved to include holding back from speaking truth to power, as when one admires the naked emperor's new "clothes". It also includes euphemisms, like the trend in schools to call unit tests "summative assessments". Apple carts like these, and those who peddle from them, deserve to be upset as they do not serve the common good. Rudeness may always be inappropriate, but the politeness many people demand often obscures realities that are far from polite, and often downright harmful. The middle road of unvarnished candor is needed to expose them so they have a hope of being meaningfully addressed.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    As for "everybody needing to be offended from time to time"... do you honestly believe that people who belong to persecuted minorities somehow lack reasons/opportunities to be offended in their lives? And even if you did believe such a preposterous thing, how does it make it your job to offend them, or give them a dose of "reality"? In addition, even if you believe that and also believe it's your job to offend people, why do you think it's important for you to offend them in specifically the way that makes the offense politically incorrect, i.e. by invoking and participating in the persecution of the group(s) this person belongs to? Can you not just be offensive in any of a million other ways? It really doesn't take that much effort or imagination...

    It seems to me that people who love to bash "political correctness" are people who are somewhat deficient in social graces and can't seem to avoid offending people whether they meant to or not, but don't want to face social consequences (i.e. being criticized and disliked) for this. That's why they like to conflate "political correctness" to politeness or not offending people. That's a neat little straw man, but it doesn't actually get you off the hook for offensive behavior. Granted, it's almost impossible to go through life without ever offending somebody, but the correct response to "accidentally" giving offense is not by doubling down on being an inconsiderate asshole. Also, I realize that public opinion is not even remotely infallible, but maybe if something you are doing is consistently offensive to a lot of people, it's worth re-considering your position every once in a while (even if you keep coming to the same conclusion), just, you know, to see if you might think of new reasons why everybody is on your case about it.
    First off, I'm glad you got to project your irrational emotions on me rather than someone who cares. I'm not saying that it's right for people to slam and diss every horribly put-down minority but things often need to be said bluntly rather than beating around the bush. I don't care about the specifics on what to call each group. People can get so butt hurt and offended by stupid stuff. Being offended... THAT'S CALLED LIFE! A homeless person is a person without a home (hobo for short) and a homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to the same sex. I infer that the only reason "homo" became a no-no is because people kept saying "no homo". Does it offend straight people that you call them hetero? No, it does not. I don't think bisexual people get offended if they're called bi.

    You can only take so many precautions to avoid "hurting feelings" or saying what society deems wrong or taboo before your words become meaningless all together. I'm going to say "Merry Christmas". I really don't care if you say Happy Hanukkah. I'm not going to call a blackboard a "chalkboard" in order to not offend black people because that is stupid. And people get so offended from certain protests and stuff when people just need to realize that we all have freedom of speech and are allowed to express our ideas. I don't think that should be limited and especially not by something as subjective as public opinion.

    "And in a gutless act of political correctness, 'Pizza Day' will now be known as 'Italian-American Sauced Bread Day.'"
    — Principal Seymour Skinner, The Simpsons

  3. #23
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue350 View Post
    First off, I'm glad you got to project your irrational emotions on me rather than someone who cares. I'm not saying that it's right for people to slam and diss every horribly put-down minority but things often need to be said bluntly rather than beating around the bush. I don't care about the specifics on what to call each group. People can get so butt hurt and offended by stupid stuff. Being offended... THAT'S CALLED LIFE! A homeless person is a person without a home (hobo for short) and a homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to the same sex. I infer that the only reason "homo" became a no-no is because people kept saying "no homo". Does it offend straight people that you call them hetero? No, it does not. I don't think bisexual people get offended if they're called bi.

    You can only take so many precautions to avoid "hurting feelings" or saying what society deems wrong or taboo before your words become meaningless all together. I'm going to say "Merry Christmas". I really don't care if you say Happy Hanukkah. I'm not going to call a blackboard a "chalkboard" in order to not offend black people because that is stupid. And people get so offended from certain protests and stuff when people just need to realize that we all have freedom of speech and are allowed to express our ideas. I don't think that should be limited and especially not by something as subjective as public opinion.

    "And in a gutless act of political correctness, 'Pizza Day' will now be known as 'Italian-American Sauced Bread Day.'"
    — Principal Seymour Skinner, The Simpsons
    It seems to me that you are exactly the person who finds it convenient not to have a specific definition for "political correctness". Maybe that's why you skipped it, why take issue with something that can be pinned down when you can just move the goalposts whenever you feel like. So you are back to equating being blunt and/or rude and having no regard for people's feelings to being politically incorrect.

    What I'm curious about is why you are acting so hurt and self-righteous about this "political correctness" thing? Even if one accepted your premise that being politically correct (or even polite) is useless and counterproductive, what exactly are you advocating? You already have the right to be as much of an asshole as you want to anyone in any way. Neither political correctness nor politeness are enforced by law. You are not going to jail no matter what you say (unless you spill government secrets, but even you will probably agree THAT is beyond the scope of this discussion). So what else do you want?

    Are you, perhaps, mad that when you say things to people that they don't like they then turn around and give you a piece of their mind? Do you not like being condemned for acting like an asshole? Do you not like being criticized, or told that your behavior is unacceptable? That's a little strange, don't you think? Shouldn't turnabout be fair play? If your "bluntness" upsets somebody, don't they have the right to turn around and say "blunt" things to you? So what if your feelings get hurt -- you've just wasted a lot of text saying that you don't care about how things you say make people feel. Why are your feelings of being persecuted for being "blunt", and "straightforward", and "telling it like it is" get priority treatment?
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  4. #24
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The working definition of "political correctness" has evolved to include holding back from speaking truth to power, as when one admires the naked emperor's new "clothes". It also includes euphemisms, like the trend in schools to call unit tests "summative assessments". Apple carts like these, and those who peddle from them, deserve to be upset as they do not serve the common good. Rudeness may always be inappropriate, but the politeness many people demand often obscures realities that are far from polite, and often downright harmful. The middle road of unvarnished candor is needed to expose them so they have a hope of being meaningfully addressed.
    Ok, so maybe the definition of political correctness in common use has become diluted (generally by people who don't understand the point, or would rather not understand the point). No reason to get on the bandwagon.

    Just to be clear though, speaking truth to power is the exact OPPOSITE of what political correctness means. Political correctness is about refraining from adding to the persecution of groups that are already persecuted. By definition, persecuted groups are NOT in power. When have the people in power become a persecuted minority, exactly?

    Now, that's not saying you don't have good reasons to watch what you say to people in power... like the fact that if you piss them off they can make consequences for you. Telling the emperor he is naked might mean your head ends up on the chopping block. If you are ok with the consequences, by all means, speak truth to power. If you choose to do so, you could be called a lot of things from incautious to impertinent (or rude, if that's how you choose to go about it), but you aren't being politically incorrect.

    Yes, you are right, euphemisms that obscure the reality of the situation are usually not just stupid but also harmful. Yes, some people's definition of politeness and demands for being inoffensive are completely overblown and unreasonable. Yes, sometimes reality makes people extremely uncomfortable, and they call it "offensive" and act like you are the problem for bringing it up. None of this has anything to do with not using slurs for marginalized groups, or not treating people who belong to those groups badly because you don't like the group as a whole. Amazingly enough, the content of the thing in question actually matters. If someone thinks that the word "test" is offensive and you need to use "summative assessment" they are being an idiot. It is also not even remotely the same thing as referring to a Jewish person as a "kike", and if someone doesn't get that difference, well, they are also an idiot.
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  5. #25
    failed poetry slam career chubber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    Ok, so maybe the definition of political correctness in common use has become diluted (generally by people who don't understand the point, or would rather not understand the point). No reason to get on the bandwagon.

    Just to be clear though, speaking truth to power is the exact OPPOSITE of what political correctness means. Political correctness is about refraining from adding to the persecution of groups that are already persecuted. By definition, persecuted groups are NOT in power. When have the people in power become a persecuted minority, exactly?

    Now, that's not saying you don't have good reasons to watch what you say to people in power... like the fact that if you piss them off they can make consequences for you. Telling the emperor he is naked might mean your head ends up on the chopping block. If you are ok with the consequences, by all means, speak truth to power. If you choose to do so, you could be called a lot of things from incautious to impertinent (or rude, if that's how you choose to go about it), but you aren't being politically incorrect.

    Yes, you are right, euphemisms that obscure the reality of the situation are usually not just stupid but also harmful. Yes, some people's definition of politeness and demands for being inoffensive are completely overblown and unreasonable. Yes, sometimes reality makes people extremely uncomfortable, and they call it "offensive" and act like you are the problem for bringing it up. None of this has anything to do with not using slurs for marginalized groups, or not treating people who belong to those groups badly because you don't like the group as a whole. Amazingly enough, the content of the thing in question actually matters. If someone thinks that the word "test" is offensive and you need to use "summative assessment" they are being an idiot. It is also not even remotely the same thing as referring to a Jewish person as a "kike", and if someone doesn't get that difference, well, they are also an idiot.
    Have a look at South Africa...

    I totally expected INFJ to get all wound up for political correctness. They always do.

  6. #26

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    I'm not trying to be insensitive or spiteful. I understand that minorities need protection but too much of a "good" thing can be "bad". We go so far to please everyone when it just isn't possible. We all need to be accepting of each other and it isn't like I try to offend people or use incorrect descriptions of certain minorities. I don't use racial slurs and I'm not an asshole all the time. I respect minorities. I call homeless people homeless people and don't criticize certain social groups. I'm a very accepting and open-minded person.

    I see no reason to say "chairperson" instead of chairman. I address groups of women as "guys". I say fireman sometimes rather than "firefighter". I don't think it really offends anyone unless they are an extreme feminist. I don't say retarded because I think it is mean. I talk about people more in terms of the continent they come from rather than the country. I don't know how to determine whether a person is Chinese or Japanese so I say "Asian". I don't think white people care if you call them white rather than "German" or "French" because they don't care! I will say "God Bless" and I don't really care who it offends because I believe in God! You can say "Allah bless" or "Buddha bless". That wouldn't offend me. I wouldn't really care.

    If you tell me "I'm Japanese" or i prefer to be called "Blah blah blah" , I will try and remember. I'm respectful. I just don't think that a lot of stuff matters because I don't find it offensive. I understand that you want everyone to be happy and not be offended but in this world everything is offensive to some people.

  7. #27
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chubber View Post
    Have a look at South Africa...

    I totally expected INFJ to get all wound up for political correctness. They always do.
    Um, what about South Africa? Are you saying the ruling class are a minority? Ok, what of it, being a minority doesn't mean being a PERSECUTED minority. If the minority is in power, they are not being persecuted. If, on the other hand, people in power are deposed and face persecution for what they did while in power... well, they are persecuted, but they are NO LONGER IN POWER. See how that works? You can't have a group that is both in power and a persecuted minority.

    Oh, and nice Ad Hominem. Being an INFJ automatically means I get my panties in a was about people's feeeeeeelings and just want everyone to get together and sing Kumba-Ya. No chance I could make a rational argument about that giant straw man everyone is bashing, so no need to actually read anything I said.
    Last edited by two cents; 12-05-2013 at 11:08 AM. Reason: forgot quote
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  8. #28
    Senior Member two cents's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue350 View Post
    I'm not trying to be insensitive or spiteful. I understand that minorities need protection but too much of a "good" thing can be "bad". We go so far to please everyone when it just isn't possible. We all need to be accepting of each other and it isn't like I try to offend people or use incorrect descriptions of certain minorities. I don't use racial slurs and I'm not an asshole all the time. I respect minorities. I call homeless people homeless people and don't criticize certain social groups. I'm a very accepting and open-minded person.

    I see no reason to say "chairperson" instead of chairman. I address groups of women as "guys". I say fireman sometimes rather than "firefighter". I don't think it really offends anyone unless they are an extreme feminist. I don't say retarded because I think it is mean. I talk about people more in terms of the continent they come from rather than the country. I don't know how to determine whether a person is Chinese or Japanese so I say "Asian". I don't think white people care if you call them white rather than "German" or "French" because they don't care! I will say "God Bless" and I don't really care who it offends because I believe in God! You can say "Allah bless" or "Buddha bless". That wouldn't offend me. I wouldn't really care.

    If you tell me "I'm Japanese" or i prefer to be called "Blah blah blah" , I will try and remember. I'm respectful. I just don't think that a lot of stuff matters because I don't find it offensive. I understand that you want everyone to be happy and not be offended but in this world everything is offensive to some people.
    You seem to think I have some kind of personal stake in whether or not you are nice or polite to people. I don't. I'm pretty damn hard to offend. If you want to be blunt, be my guest. If you want to be an asshole, well, you are free to do so too. Your ability (or lack thereof) to get along with people primarily affects you.

    What I take issue with is making "political correctness" into a straw man and then bashing it, and that has more to do with my dislike of straw men than my love for political correctness. Conflating all kinds of crap that doesn't actually belong together has never helped an argument or solved a problem. You want to bitch about people who get their feelings hurt over nothing all the time and make it your problem? Go for it. I'll even join in, because god they are annoying! If those people want to tell you that you are not allowed to offend them because political correctness, then they are also being morons and they don't understand what they are talking about. And if you want to hop on that bandwagon, I'll tell you the same thing.

    Now, I do happen to think that members of powerful majorities should think before they say something about persecuted minorities. Political correctness or not, I think fairness is important, and so is critical thinking. So applying the latter to your position might help you not be an asshole to people who did nothing to deserve it.

    Whatever your position, however, I think it's the height of hypocricy to demand some kind of immunity from criticism for being rude/obnoxious/insensitive OR politically incorrect. If you can dish it out then you need to be able to take it. Your feelings are no more special or important or sacred then everyone else's.
    And that's my two cents on the subject.

  9. #29
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    I find the influence of White privilege, as well as the idea that people are a 'product of their own environment' a bit overrated, especially when it's used to excuse self destructive, even immoral behavior as some sort of reasonable reaction to it. It's certainly a factor, but you have to do your own part regardless.

  10. #30
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    Ok, so maybe the definition of political correctness in common use has become diluted (generally by people who don't understand the point, or would rather not understand the point). No reason to get on the bandwagon.
    Language evolves. In this case, I think the expansion is useful. What the broader range of "politically correct" statements have in common is that they are made with the primary goal of not offending someone else, whether that sacrifices truth, accuracy, and benefit or not. In general, it is good not to offend people, but that cannot trump all other concerns the way it often does.

    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    Just to be clear though, speaking truth to power is the exact OPPOSITE of what political correctness means. Political correctness is about refraining from adding to the persecution of groups that are already persecuted. By definition, persecuted groups are NOT in power. When have the people in power become a persecuted minority, exactly?

    Now, that's not saying you don't have good reasons to watch what you say to people in power... like the fact that if you piss them off they can make consequences for you. Telling the emperor he is naked might mean your head ends up on the chopping block. If you are ok with the consequences, by all means, speak truth to power. If you choose to do so, you could be called a lot of things from incautious to impertinent (or rude, if that's how you choose to go about it), but you aren't being politically incorrect.
    I equated political correctness with holding back from speaking truth to power. You seem to have misunderstood it as the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by two cents View Post
    Yes, you are right, euphemisms that obscure the reality of the situation are usually not just stupid but also harmful. Yes, some people's definition of politeness and demands for being inoffensive are completely overblown and unreasonable. Yes, sometimes reality makes people extremely uncomfortable, and they call it "offensive" and act like you are the problem for bringing it up. None of this has anything to do with not using slurs for marginalized groups, or not treating people who belong to those groups badly because you don't like the group as a whole. Amazingly enough, the content of the thing in question actually matters. If someone thinks that the word "test" is offensive and you need to use "summative assessment" they are being an idiot. It is also not even remotely the same thing as referring to a Jewish person as a "kike", and if someone doesn't get that difference, well, they are also an idiot.
    What the two have in common is the emphasis on avoiding offense at all costs, and above all goals. This usually fixates on what specific words you use rather than the meaning you have to convey, let alone how you actually act toward the affected group. The words don't even have to be slurs. After all, insults are insults, whether based on someone's membership in a marginalized group, or any other quality. Many people, for instance, consider "African American" the only "correct" way to refer to Americans of African heritage. Never mind "nigger" - generally regarded as a slur - even black, colored, and negro are off-limits. But which is more offensive:

    "Negroes have been sorely oppressed throughout much of American History."

    "African-Americans are just lazy, and predisposed to rely on welfare and handouts."


    Quote Originally Posted by rogue350 View Post
    I'm not trying to be insensitive or spiteful. I understand that minorities need protection but too much of a "good" thing can be "bad". We go so far to please everyone when it just isn't possible. We all need to be accepting of each other and it isn't like I try to offend people or use incorrect descriptions of certain minorities. I don't use racial slurs and I'm not an asshole all the time. I respect minorities. I call homeless people homeless people and don't criticize certain social groups. I'm a very accepting and open-minded person.

    I see no reason to say "chairperson" instead of chairman. I address groups of women as "guys". I say fireman sometimes rather than "firefighter". I don't think it really offends anyone unless they are an extreme feminist.
    With some words, it's not so much a matter of political correctness as factual correctness. A woman working for the fire dept simply isn't a fireMAN. I don't put "guys" in the same category since it is colloquial and casual, but words like fireman, policeman, chairman are not. They are easily replaced by words that accurately reflect whomever might be fulfilling the function. This is the same reality test that confirms it's OK to talk about the homeless - they don't have homes, after all. I actually call the aboriginal people in the U.S. "Native Americans" rather than Indians for the same reason: Indians are people from India. That can get confusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by rogue350 View Post
    If you tell me "I'm Japanese" or i prefer to be called "Blah blah blah" , I will try and remember. I'm respectful. I just don't think that a lot of stuff matters because I don't find it offensive. I understand that you want everyone to be happy and not be offended but in this world everything is offensive to some people.
    This is the bottom line. If a name or an adjective bothers you, state your preference simply, without accusation or assuming malintent. Similarly, if someone makes a courteous request along these lines, respect it much as you would call someone by the name they prefer.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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