Political correctness helps overcome discrimination

Re: “Political correctness is superfluous,” Nov. 4, 2009

I also hate political correctness, I hate that people think that they are being anti-oppressive just because they are not using words that are offensive.

While I would never condone the use of oppressive language due to the alienating effects that it can have on people who are a part of historically marginalized groups, I do think that political correctness has been co-opted by some people who use it for the wrong reasons, to the point where others have begun to see through its superficiality.

But there is a difference between being PC and carefully, critically considering your language so as to avoid perpetuating oppressive systems of thought.

We should stay away from terms like “black economy”, not because people of colour are losing sleep over its use (although some may be and that must be taken seriously), but because it perpetuates a very real system of thought that says that everything black is bad and corrupt and everything white is good and pure. The racist system of thought that it reflects and perpetuates has very real implications for people of colour today.

Language both reflects and shapes the culture that we live in. It is powerful.
Critical language modification must not be conflated with superficial, self-aggrandizing attempts at over-simplifying anti-oppression.

–Kate Klein