Confronting critics of political correctness
I’m done arguing about political correctness.
Words are powerful.
As much as we may see them as building blocks under our control, the power of words depends on how they shape the way we think about the world and then the world as it continues to unfurl before us.
Because of this, I care a lot about the way we use words.
Our language used to have what is called grammatical gender.
It’s a linguistic feature that categorizes most of the language into male and female.
In English one of the few remnants of this is the words “blonde” and “blond,” where the first is for describing women’s hair and the later for describing men’s hair. But even that example is starting to disappear — and if you ask me, good riddance.
Looking at the word “key,” scientists wanted to see how people who spoke German, where it is categorized as male, and Spanish, where it is categorized as female, described a key in adjectives.
Germans described the word as hard, heavy and jagged, while Spanish speakers used ‘golden’ ‘intricate’ and ‘little’. Language affects the way we think, and so does gender.
Last term I wrote at length about part of our language that says something about how we think.
To me, the term ‘man bun’ is more than just a ridiculous, unnecessary addition to our language — it says something important and distressing about our culture. It speaks to the way that gender impacts how we think about ourselves and others. It speaks to how our culture sees femininity as demeaning to the masculine ideal. These are not trivial concerns.
The most common response to an argument like the one I just made is that I’m promoting political correctness and because of that, I’ve decided I’m going to stop treating those complaints seriously.
If you have doubts or concerns about political correctness in society, I’m done coddling you. I’m done justifying myself on your terms, because I’m not being politically correct and I’m not asking anyone else to be politically correct.
If you hear what I’m saying and tell me I’m being politically correct, you are doing exactly what you’re asking me not to do.
When you tell someone to stop complaining because they are being too politically correct, you are actually saying that they’re not being politically correct enough for you.
You are setting the terms of what is appropriate in your political landscape and telling people to shut up because they don’t meet your political standards.
When you say there are bigger issues to care about than language or fashion or movies, all I hear is you telling me what I can and can’t say based on your own political feelings.
When you complain about the closing minds of college students who care too much about political correctness, all I hear is that you don’t care enough about the words coming out of your own mouth to think about them before they pass your lips.
When you complain about me advocating for political correctness, I know that you don’t have the intellectual rigor to confront my argument on its own terms.
You hide behind buzzwords either because you don’t respect me enough to treat me seriously, or you are too cowardly to authentically challenge my ideas.
Political correctness is a hilariously ironic term.
It’s only used by people who complain about it and they don’t even realize that their complaining is its own form of political correctness.
So from now on, I’m done arguing about political correctness.
If you want to tell me I’m wrong, create an argument that shows you respect me.
Or I will never take you seriously.