The priorities of civil discussion


Graphic by Joshua Awolade, contributed image
Graphic by Joshua Awolade, contributed image

In a world where New York City schools try to ban the word “dinosaur” because it may offend people who do not believe in evolution, where we spend hours and days arguing whether snowman should be called a snowperson instead of worrying about more dyer concerns to humanity like global warming or global poverty, it may be safe to argue that political correctness, if these examples even constitute, has gotten out of hand.

Firstly, I am immensely proud of how far humanity has come in becoming sensitive to issues and concerns pertaining to race, gender, disabilities, class and many more.

We have no doubt developed into a more conscious and inclusive society.

Where I feel issues arise is when we take the goodness of political correctness and twist it into a tool with which we instantly misjudge people and give them certain labels, take words out of context and make unfair conclusions, spending more time on finding the wrongs in society instead of figuring out how it can be improved.

In times like these, overboard political correctness actually has a counter productive impact to the betterment of society.

What once started as an effort not to offend others in an accepting way has, at times, spiraled into an effort to scrutinize every action, utterance and conflict infringing on the very right to freedom of expression.

Once again, the latter refers to the ludicrous of the overboard political correctness police.

Oftentimes, these political correctness officers fail to address the underlying problems that evoke certain statements, views or actions.

Consequently, fundamental issues are not addressed but suppressed or violently dismissed. This is not progress. This is not how we develop.

Acceptance and cohesion can only really exist when we have an open dialogue instead of immediately shutting down anything that is questionable.

We cannot have an impact on people’s hearts and minds by shutting them up or labelling them as the “bully.”

But we can carry a positive impact by talking to them, reasoning with them and educating them to become socially aware.

If political correctness is a system whereby we have developed into a more accepting and inclusive society, I feel it is only right that it does not become a system which illegitimately judges others, tries to find the faults in people and indeed divides us instead of bringing us closer.

There are important issues concerning all of humanity that need discussion rather than trivial arguments on whether Ariana Grande’s outfit was sexist, whether man-buns should just be called buns or snowmen should be renamed to snowpeople.

Dialogue is always necessary and problems should be prioritized.

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