A few months ago, I was invited to contribute a post or two to the brand new God-Centered Life website (an organisation whose ministry council I’ve been asked to join). One of their concerns is to help university students engage with the culture around them, and so I took the issue of Political Correctness (its positive side as well as its negative, since that is often ignored in current debates). It’s not a matter of ‘political correctness gone mad’ – that’s far too simplistic. We need a much more nuanced approach. Which is what I attempted, though with only 800 words in each post, that was, of course, a tall order.
These do hopefully give some wider perspective to the issue.
Because language can itself be used as an abuse of power:
… In response, many in recent decades have sought to give voice to those who had been silenced: holocaust survivors; aboriginal and ethnic minorities; the disenfranchised and marginalized (whether for reasons of gender, sexuality, race, and so on). There is justice in that, especially if we hold to the creed of all being created equal in the eyes of God.” READ ON
Where does power lie in a society? Well, the answer is simple: with the groups/individuals that can’t be criticised. (A thought falsely attributed to Voltaire) So controlling language again becomes a means to power.
So if that majority has benefited from and exploited from the marginalization of minorities, surely it is right to restore the imbalance? That is how politically correct language came in.
But with predictable irony, power does its corrupting work again. PC language has become a tool to silence all opposition rather than a means to protect a minority. Something can’t be said it’s deemed to be “sexist,” or “homophobic,” or “racist,” or “Islamophobic” and so on. There may be legitimacy to the charge, of course. But such is the power of this language, that most recoil from uttering anything remotely like it again, even when it was a groundless charge. READ ON
There’s a lot more on this in A Wilderness of Mirrors…