Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


“Political correctness”: To or not to?

posted by Scot McKnight

A friend of mine declares that “political correctness is a synonym for moral cowardice” while another friend says it’s nothing more than the morals of the political left. Which means that political incorrectness means moral courage and the morals of the political right.

What about you? Do you think the expression “politically correct” or “politically incorrect” has any value in public rhetoric? What do such expressions mean to you?
What is your best example of something that is “politically correct” that you think is silly? Or the other way around?


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Bob Cornwall

posted November 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm


Scot, as I said elsewhere in regard to this statement. The usage of the word “political correctness” simply has no meaning. It is neither moral cowardice or moral courage — it is simply a useless word used to denigrate the opinions of others.
If, as I believe, this is regards to the acts committed at Ft. Hood, to say that it is inappropriate to blame this on Islam or to say that this isn’t an expression of Islamic terrorism (Joe Lieberman) isn’t political correctness, it is to state clearly that while religion (any religion) can contribute to violence (including Christianity) it is inappropriate to blame this on Islam. This man was, quite clearly disturbed mentally and his religion may have given a rationale. Note too that all the major Islamic groups in the country have condemned this act of violence.
Am I politically correct? If so, so be it!



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Rev. Dave

posted November 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm


I don’t have a problem with political correctness for the main part, but it can’t be the end all. “Do unto others” and “love one another” are part of our credo. Political correctness emerged because minorities were faced with labels that didn’t make them feel valued. So we tried to rectify that with shifts in our language. The problem is that we can’t understand how words effect a minority group or an individual if we have no interaction with them. So instead of fretting over political correctness, how about if we try to actually “love our neighbor” by getting to know them. The Evangelical Covenant Church’s Journey to Racial Righteousness and Sankofa Trips are two worthwhile models (http://www.covchurch.org/cmj). I know far too many people who lump all Muslims in the same boat of being blood-thirsty jihadists, but they have never actually talked with anyone who practices Islam. The same goes for people of other races, cultures and ethnicities. Most of us have a hard time understanding people of the opposite gender. Instead of political correctness, let’s just pull up a chair over coffee and talk. Face to face.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted November 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm


It just depends where you’re at. I find it unhelpful and nonconducive to needed discussion in trying to understand the issues.
I think we have to have some sensitivity to people, so that in such cases political correctness in various places may be good. I’ve heard people complain about African-American, saying, “Aren’t we all just Americans?” But I think there’s a history that needs to be respected behind that term. On the other hand there are times when we do need to take a stand, with humility. And challenge a term hopefully to engage a good, civil exchange.



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Rick Presley

posted November 11, 2009 at 5:47 pm


Like any term, it has been bent and twisted to mean many things. Currently it is viewed with derision because the prophets of our age, the court jesters, (known commonly as stand-up comics) say the most un-PC of things with impunity. Meanwhile, those with delicate sensibilities who will not blink at an F-bomb recoil in horror at the N-word. Unless of course it is hurled defiantly and self-derisively from an Urban Contemporary music station.
Personally, I do not think there should be words that are “off limits” or wrong in any context. It makes language sterile and euphemistic. It denies the existence of genuine emotions and forces us to bubble wrap them so as not to offend someone else. On the other hand, we need to be skilled in our speech so as to call Herod a jackal when need be or religious leaders vipers when the occasion arises, but we don’t want to quench a smoldering wick or break a bruised reed either.



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Pat

posted November 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm


I think political correctness is respect for others in a way befitting the culture. For instance, I once had a co-worker use the word “colored” in my presence (I’m African-American). I politely corrected her and told her that was a word that pre-dated equal rights. Use of a word like that by a Caucasian can be interpreted to be racist, whereas many years ago it was acceptable (even African-Americans used the word). I think there is value in being PC in public rhetoric particularly if you’re hoping to persuade others.



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Pat

posted November 11, 2009 at 5:57 pm


Good thoughts, Rev. Dave.



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AHH

posted November 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm


I think it is mostly a term that does not make for fruitful discussion.
While there are certainly indefensible things that get that label (like some excesses of “speech codes’ on college campuses), we have reached a point where the “right” uses PC as a pejorative term applied to anything that does not suit them, like the gender-inclusive translation of the TNIV, or statements of concern about caring for God’s creation, or the desire to have representation from women and/or minorities on church committees.
Of course within churches and Evangelical culture in general it can run the opposite way. In my church, it would be “politically incorrect” to say something negative about James Dobson, or to suggest that Adam and Eve were not historic individuals, or to suggest that even if one doesn’t favor gay marriage it is not a dire threat to the marriages of heterosexuals. But it probably isn’t very constructive to use the terminology of “politically (in)correct” in that context either.



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Allan R., Bevere

posted November 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Scot,
I appreciate your desire to keep my name out of it without my permission (your ethical concerns just reinforce the truth of your Christian character), but I am the one who said that political correctness is a synonym for moral cowardice. Anything I post on my blog or on Facebook, I assume is meant for public consumption. I stand by that claim and will defend it if necessary, but what I would prefer to happen is that a robust discussion begin on the subject.
I appreciate Bob Cornwall’s comments on the topic. I sense that we would disagree on this, but we agree on enough to move our conversation forward.
I hope folks will have at it– in civility of course.



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Kyle Nolan

posted November 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm


I don’t think political affiliation much matters. Anyone can be politically correct or incorrect.
At it’s best, I think political correctness would be the sensitivity to retain the human dignity of the other in our interactions.
At it’s worse, it is the neglect to speak the truth in fear of offending the other (although the real fear is usually of bad publicity).
I think this speaks to the deep misunderstanding in our social interaction of the difference between offending someone and denying their human dignity. You can do one without the other. You can care for the humanity of another without glossing over the truth–offending them, even–but you can also make “true” statements which serve to reduce the other to less than who they really are. So it might be better to start having conversations about character rather than political correctness. Our society would be better served if we were represented by people with character–those who know how to speak the truth in love–rather than people who are good at being politically correct.



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Dave Rattigan

posted November 11, 2009 at 7:36 pm


The left have their political correctness, the right have theirs. It’s groupthink, basically.
“Political correctness” is pretty much worthless as a term in debate, since it’s so liberally (no pun intended) flung around.



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MattR

posted November 11, 2009 at 8:08 pm


“Political Correctness” at this point is a phrase with little value.
It is a phrase that, at this point, I just hear used to shut down conversation… often those on the political right use it to try and call someone a ‘liberal’ without saying it.
Ironically, the most politically correct statements these days are those who are trying to be NOT politically correct. It seems pretty ‘mainstream’ to bash politically correct language… but in most of the contexts I hear people bash on being ‘politically correct’ just as an easy way to doge the deeper issues.



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MatthewS

posted November 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm


If terms were not important, then pro-lifers would not care when they are called anti-abortion or anti-choice. I am pro-life, btw.
In my opinion, some words or terms should not reasonably offend others. Other terms do reasonably offend, even if the person using the term is not aware and does not intend offense. We brought a neighbor boy to church the other day and were asked by a well-meaning older lady at church if he is “part negro.” I am sure she does not think herself racist and meant no offense but I would consider that word inappropriate, too laden with an oppressive history. I consider it respect for others to avoid terms that are needlessly offensive. Applies to Rush Limbaugh’s use of the term “Barack the Magic …” In my opinion, it’s needlessly offensive.
However, in my subjective opinion, some recent noise about the adjective “master” being offensive as in someone mastering their craft or a master bedroom is counter-productive. People of all backgrounds have master bedrooms in the US. Maybe somewhere in the world it means something different but what other term better describes the bigger bedroom in the house with an attached bathroom? And does it reasonably offend someone if Obama is said to deliver a masterful speech, or deliver a speech masterfully? I realize it is easy for a person in the majority to ignore what he/she does not know and assume it has no meaning, when in fact it does have hurtful meaning to those who are in an affected minority group. But I believe there is a corollary that some people seem to be looking to be offended unreasonably. Perhaps this is my own ignorance and I am willing to be corrected but at this present time, I consider taking offense at the word “master” as an adjective unreasonable.
Something that seems tricky to me is, who gets to be the spokesperson for a whole group of people? For one example: if someone claims the term “gay” is offensive, what other term should you use? homosexual? But what if someone else claims that gay should be preferred? My frustration there is that I am glad to use whatever term is considered the most respectful but it seems like it can be a shell game where whatever term is used most commonly can be defined as offensive at the moment. I’ve seen geeks (especially young ones) play games with names, mocking those in the press who don’t distinguish between hacking (basically messing around) and cracking (more sinister) – but they reserve the right to adjust the meanings of such terms at will. A group can’t expect the larger population to keep up with every internal change it makes.



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bob

posted November 12, 2009 at 6:02 am


If “moral cowardice” is a synonym for “political correctness”, then the two should be easily interchangeable in normal usage. I don’t think they are. Rather, it seems to me that “moral cowardice” is an attribution of motivation or character trait behind the use of the PC label.
Rather than talking about what “political correctness” means, which is a difficult task, perhaps exploring the ways that we use “political correctness” in everyday exchange (HT: Wittgenstein) would begin to shed light on this meaning. I suggest that it has several meanings.
I can think of two primary uses. One person uses the “political IN-correctness” to point out unacceptable statements. The basis of the unacceptability doesn’t really matter, and can vary depending on the situation. The statements are usually described — by the one making the statement and not necessarily to the one making the statement — as offensive. Another person uses “political correctness” to point out unacceptable censorship of statements, in other words, the perceived use of the first case. Again, the basis of the unacceptability doesn’t really matter.
In both cases above, a moral code is implied by the use of the label. Is speaking up in defense of a moral code “cowardice”? It is hard to make this substitution in the above cases. Is “moral cowardice” behind the use of “political correctness” in the above cases? How can you possibly know this?



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Randy

posted November 12, 2009 at 9:21 am


I find “political correctness” is too vacuous to mean anything. I know what people generally mean by it, but I think it would be safe to say that Mrs. Scozzafava recently found out that it is politically incorrect to support labor rights or gay rights in the Republican Party (even though her husband is a labor leader).
Peace,
Randy Gabrielse



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Craig Beard

posted November 12, 2009 at 9:55 am


I know this may seem simplistic, but it seems that a good starting place is
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death?
even death on a cross.
I think cruciform humility, loving civility, and godly wisdom go a lot farther than prescriptive and proscriptive “political correctness.”



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Kenton

posted November 12, 2009 at 10:08 am


So “politically correct” means being sensitive to how other people hear the words I use, and it has a lot of value to me. This post got me to thinking of terms I’ve adopted that might be construed as “politically correct.” Things like “Hebrew Scriptures” instead of “Old Testament,” “Our Muslim/Jewish/Mormon friends” instead of “Muslims/Jews/Mormons.”
Because if we’re called to be loving, won’t we want to be sensitive to how others respond to our use of language?
Where does it go too far? Well, there are certainly a lot of tongue-in-cheek terms like calling a stay at home mother a “Domestic Engineer” or referring to the deceased as having “obtained room temperature,” but those are about having fun with concept as opposed to enforcing a speech code.



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Karl

posted November 12, 2009 at 10:47 am


One of the silliest examples of political correctness that I can think of is the fact that “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, one of the greatest works of American literature and whose genius includes a witty challenge to the racist attitudes of its day, is one of the top 10 most challenged books of the last couple of decades according to the American Library Association, and has been removed from the majority of public school curricula where it once was a staple, simply because it uses an unmentionable word that begins with the letter N.



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nathan

posted November 12, 2009 at 11:25 am


i’ve found that “political correctness” is alive and well on either side of the spectrum…
it’s just more used as term of derision by people on the right with out regard to their own use of “codewords”.
to use the term “political correctness” as a term of derision is a rhetorical act of power designed to denigrate someone else’s values that you may not share. and THAT is a form of political correctness that positions a person within a particular community with “credibility”.
i prefer to consider it a simple matter of politeness and consideration that someone should be referred to/described the way they desire to be described.
otherwise, it’s just not a big deal…



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Julie Clawson

posted November 12, 2009 at 11:34 am


I actually find it amazing that a Christian blog would have a discussion asking if caring about how our language hurts other people is actually just moral cowardice. I know that the term “politically correct” has been twisted to be used as a term of derision for those that call for the respecting of all people. Of course people don’t want to have to change their habits for other people, we’re selfish jerks for the most part – so people have decided that it’s easier to mock the idea of respecting others than to put in the effort to actually do it. Rev. Dave makes a good point that the heart issue here is about loving others. We can get too wrapped up in terminology and forget our purposes, but I’ve discovered recently that any suggestion of how to love and respect our neighbor gets dismissed as just being “politically correct” Our thinking has become so warped and so focused on our comfort instead of the needs of others, that we have actually reached the point where Christians are debating if it is cowardly to love others. Are you serious????



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Rick

posted November 12, 2009 at 11:52 am


Julie-
“Our thinking has become so warped and so focused on our comfort instead of the needs of others, that we have actually reached the point where Christians are debating if it is cowardly to love others.”
No one is arguing the need to love others. The question becomes what terms can be used, who decides the terms, and who judges the motivation of the person using the terms?
Futhermore, does it confine the ability to ask the tough questions (ex. Ft. Hood, homosexuality as a sin, etc…)?



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JMorrow

posted November 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm


I appreciate alot of the comments here. I often whince when someone mentions political correctness because the term itself has been used as political body armor for anyone and everyone across the political spectrum. Even at its best, the adjective “political” implies only a kind of surface level, almost cosmetic regard for keeping up appearances. Those desires often have more to do with keeping political power than with actually addressing the underlying dignity of the person(s) being addressed.
On the one hand I tire of those who euphemistically couch their words either to lauded or avoid the cost of saying what is truly on their mind. Yet, on the other I get equally frustrated with those who see their truthtelling as counter cultural and therefore a license to not give a rip about how their words come across.
As Christians, I think it speaks ill of our character when we don’t take the time to offer dignity and humanity with our words. How many times to we have to reread Proverbs, the Gospels and James to know the consequences if we don’t? That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to put our foot in our mouths plenty of times. But we should try to take it out as soon as possible.
Speaking in ways that may be controversial or offensive, but nonetheless redemptive is a gift that has to be earned. You can’t just walk into any setting, address any person, or any community expecting to be taken seriously.



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Julie Clawson

posted November 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm


” No one is arguing the need to love others. The question becomes what terms can be used, who decides the terms, and who judges the motivation of the person using the terms?
Futhermore, does it confine the ability to ask the tough questions”
In my experience it has very much been about the need to love others. When we women mention that using terms that imply that men control everything is hurtful to us and that we would prefer more respectful inclusive terms we are laughed at – especially in the church. That tells me that I am not important enough to be loved, that I have no say in how others treat me, and their allegiance to patriarchy (or simply laziness) is more important to them than showing love to my entire gender. I have heard far more talk about how silly it is to have to change our language for other people than I have heard talk about why language needs to change or how we can best love people. Sure, its complicated and we need to have discussions about what terms are best. But to merely mock the idea of a thoughtful use of language does betray an inability to care about the other.
And our ability to ask the hard questions isn’t shut down by a call to respect all people. I think a good reminder that all things need to be done in love is healthy for all of us.



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Karl

posted November 12, 2009 at 12:42 pm


What I see Christians debating here is whether the policing of language and a top-down mandate of what terms are permissible and what terms are out of bounds, is an effective way to love others. Or even if a good idea, whether it sometimes goes so far as to become silly and to trivialize real issues of unloving behavior. I don’t see Scot or anyone else here saying any of the things you accuse them of, Julie.
This female author at the (not exactly conservative) Huffington Post says Political Correctness can sometimes be Perfectly Crazy:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trish-kinney/politically-correct-or-pe_b_348562.html
Politically Correct
adj. (Abbr. PC)
(1) Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.
(2) Being or perceived as being overconcerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.



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MatthewS

posted November 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm


Julie #19,
I completely agree that loving our neighbor is of utmost importance and it affects the words we use (and don’t use). My pushback to political correctness is that sometimes it is not about, as you say it, “caring about how our language hurts other people…” Sometimes it is a political shell game where someone whom the media favors gets to decide that now this or that term is off-limits and the new ground rule is then used to political effect against people who use the term, even if used in good faith. Other scenarios exist. My complaint is that sometimes people are othered based on shifting rules of political correctness.
here is one possible continuum where “I” use a term against “you” (personal pronouns used for convenience):
1) The term is offensive. I know it, you know it, I use it anyway.
2) The term is reasonably offensive to you but I don’t know it and use it.
3) The term is not reasonably offensive and I use it in good faith, you choose to act as if you have reason to be offended.
I believe that steps 1 and 2 ought to be avoided. When we commit 2, we humble ourselves, learn a lesson, ask forgiveness, move on the better for it.
3 is an unfair way to shift the discussion at hand and put someone on the defensive. This can result in great cost to the person.
A football metaphor (sorry, I’m not a rabid football fan, it’s just the best thing that came to mind): a football helmet is meant to be a protective piece of equipment. Thank goodness for helmets. They are not meant to be used as offensive weapons. There are penalties for using as such. My opinion is that when used as a defense against wrong-headed terms, the spirit of loving ones neighbor is absolutely called for. But when political correctness is used as a weapon of attack, to smear someone or shift a discussion unfairly, then a foul ought to be called. But when do defenders of PC ever call foul?



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Rick

posted November 12, 2009 at 1:45 pm


Julie #22-
Many of your concerns are well-founded, but are in the context of Christianity/church. Political correctness goes beyond that, and places its own (societal, political, etc…) standards on everyone.
As MatthewS stated:
“Sometimes it is a political shell game where someone whom the media favors gets to decide that now this or that term is off-limits and the new ground rule is then used to political effect against people who use the term, even if used in good faith.”



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Rick

posted November 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm


Julie-
“And our ability to ask the hard questions isn’t shut down by a call to respect all people.”
In fact, those questions may be hindered-
From NPR:
“Second, some of Hasan’s supervisors and instructors had told colleagues that they repeatedly bent over backward to support and encourage him, because they didn’t have clear evidence that he was unstable, and they worried they might be “discriminating” against Hasan because of his seemingly extremist Islamic beliefs.



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Deets

posted November 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm


Political correctness is a truth to all eras. In some, blasphemy was the standard. Bad-mouthing royalty has also been incorrect behavior in some societies. Dropping an F-bomb is politically incorrect among other people.
What bothers people about political correctness today isn’t that there are some statements that are importantly politically incorrect. People are bothered that the standards are changing quickly and more conceptually than in previous known cultures.



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Julie Clawson

posted November 12, 2009 at 4:10 pm


MatthewS –
“3) The term is not reasonably offensive and I use it in good faith, you choose to act as if you have reason to be offended.”
But who gets to determine that. What if is not an act on the part of those offended, but others still don’t think they have a right to be reasonably offended? There are still people being hurt, and now they get mocked or condemned because they are hurt. I’ve been told many many times that it is unreasonable for me to be offended when masculine pronouns are used to refer to women. But the truth is, that usage hurts me and a lot of other women. But we are told we are unreasonable. Same thing recently with the whole Deadly Viper blow-up. Many of the Asians involved were told that it was unreasonable for them to be offended by the book’s dismissive use of their culture. But what some may call unreasonable really does hurt others. That has to be addressed even if it is uncomfortable and puts people on the defensive.
Rick –
“”Second, some of Hasan’s supervisors and instructors had told colleagues that they repeatedly bent over backward to support and encourage him, because they didn’t have clear evidence that he was unstable, and they worried they might be “discriminating” against Hasan because of his seemingly extremist Islamic beliefs.”
So are you saying that choosing to respect people’s beliefs and being aware that we might be predisposed to discriminate should be done away with because in this one situation assuming all Muslims are evil extremists might have saved lives? I’m having a really hard time seeing how even the Hasan situation can make us question the need to respect others. If he showed no signs of unstability, can a desire to respect his religious beliefs really be blamed for this tragedy?



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Bob Brague

posted November 12, 2009 at 4:54 pm


If memory serves, the term “politically correct” first came into vogue in China during the Mao years. Far from being something “we” decided to do to help minorities feel better about themselves (see Rev. Dave’s comment, #2), it was something the ruling elites did to get certain other groups (i.e., the non-elite) behave the way the ruling classes deemed appropriate.
For that reason, I have always associated political correctness with totalitarian regimes. That we in the West have embraced it, at times to our peril, is a matter of concern and gives me pause.
And if you anyone thinks that in today’s world I am going to produce a list of terms I think are politically correct or politically incorrect on anyone’s website or blog, he or she is just sadly mistaken.
I don’t mean to sound snarky; it’s just (as Walter Cronkite used to say) “the way it is.”



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Bob Brague

posted November 12, 2009 at 5:01 pm


If memory serves, the term “politically correct” first came into vogue in China during the Mao years. Far from being something “we” decided to do to help minorities feel better about themselves (see Rev. Dave’s comment, #2), it was something the ruling elites did to force certain other groups (i.e., the non-elite) to behave the way the ruling classes deemed appropriate.
For that reason, I have always associated political correctness with totalitarian regimes. That we in the West have embraced it, at times to our peril, is a matter of concern and gives me pause.
And if anyone thinks that in today’s world I am going to produce a list of terms I think are politically correct or politically incorrect on anyone’s website or blog, he or she is just sadly mistaken.
I don’t mean to sound snarky; it’s just (as Walter Cronkite used to say) “the way it is.”



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MatthewS

posted November 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm


Julie, you sound hurt. It sounds to me like you feel you have been slighted and trivialized and ignored or maybe even muzzled. I don’t in any way intend to rub salt in these wounds.
I have to be honest: I truly feel you are not making the effort to be fair on this subject. You say “I’m having a really hard time seeing how even the Hasan situation can make us question the need to respect others. If he showed no signs of unstability, can a desire to respect his religious beliefs really be blamed for this tragedy?”
First, who here is arguing against respect for others? I gave 3 points on a continuum, 2 of which involve avoiding offensive terms and all of which speak to respect for others in discourse. Rick offered up Hasan as an example of political correctness getting in the way of asking hard questions. You redefined this as though he were arguing against respect for others.
As to signs of instability, did you read the NPR piece on this? For years his supervisors DID see signs of instability but were uncomfortable speaking the truth. In effect, THEY were muzzled, trivialized, their concerns ignored. Now the fingers point and people ask how this unstable man was promoted along the way and put in a position that allowed him to murder people. It happened in part because people in the know did not feel free to speak the truth. At the very least, this seems a fair example to at least consider if PC possibly might have been a barrier to speaking the truth.
Yet when it was offered, you considered only one possibility: that he was stable all along and that those who suggest differently have it in for all Muslims.



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Mike Clawson

posted November 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm


As far as I can tell, “politically correct” is just a term invented by the Right to mock and dismiss anyone who has the gall to point out that some language is in fact hurtful to others, and that perhaps we should be compassionate enough to listen to those others and hear from them what language they would prefer to have used for them. It is a term that is used dismissively and derogatorily in order to avoid dealing with the underlying issues or taking any responsibility for ones own prejudices and hurtful language. In that regard I would suggest that it is those who throw around the term “political correctness” in this dismissive and derogatory way who are the true moral cowards. You can label all you want, but it’s not really about “political correctness”, it’s about love and respect for those who are different from oneself. Deal with the real issues, don’t just hide behind your disdain for a term.



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MattR

posted November 12, 2009 at 11:50 pm


MatthewS (24) & Rick (25),
I’m with Julie here.
The “shell game” scenario is very rare… if it happens at all.
I hear people complain, but have rarely, if ever, heard or experienced it.
Instead, may I offer an alternative explanation…
People who are in the majority culture (and thus have power), are not used to the rapid change taking place… with regards to language, culture, and social norms. We are so used to calling the shots about all this, when WE’RE questioned, we sometimes think someone is pulling a fast one on us!
But how the other person experiences our language, based often on history or personal encounters, matters more than ones motives or “good faith.” If the result is hurt, than loving others means we need to listen to that, and maybe re-evaluate our language or approach.
I know it’s now ‘hip’ (and maybe even politically correct :) ) to question politically incorrect language… I just don’t get how we who claim to follow Christ can ever downplay the pain and experiences of marginalized & minority cultures!



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Karl

posted November 13, 2009 at 9:57 am


Julie: “So are you saying that choosing to respect people’s beliefs and being aware that we might be predisposed to discriminate should be done away with because in this one situation assuming all Muslims are evil extremists might have saved lives? I’m having a really hard time seeing how even the Hasan situation can make us question the need to respect others. If he showed no signs of unstability, can a desire to respect his religious beliefs really be blamed for this tragedy?”
Julie, you’re unfairly stacking the deck. Whe here said that the Hasan situation makes them “question the need to respect others?” What has been said about the Hasan situation is that it appears he received kid-glove treatment because of people’s fears of being seen as insensitive to muslims. What was needed wasn’t an assumption that all Muslims are evil. What was needed was to treat him normally – to take his extremist views (not his muslim faith but his attitude about it, his inflexibility, anger, irrationality and extremity) the same way you would take the views of a white supremacist in the military who expressed similar inflexible attitudes and was being deployed to a place where the military was being called in to fight a bunch of neo-nazis – treat his attitude as a real threat, with the real potential to cause a real problem for real people. Don’t let fear of insensitivity make you ignore REAL warning signs about someone’s behavior. Not stereotyped, blanket assumptions about them but real warning signs.



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ElizaDoolittle

posted November 16, 2009 at 8:54 am


Julie, the purpose of this discussion is to unpack what different people understand the term ‘political correctness’ to mean. To you, you see it as a code word to bash those who are mindful of language, terms etc that may come across as racist and sexist– to others it might mean something completely different. As far as I can tell, this has been a respectful discussion, and a discussion that needs to be had, to ensure that everyone is on the same page, even if they don’t agree. I’m sorry, but I think you have missed the point of the discussion entirely- these are honest people asking honest questions, and for you to assume that this entire discussion is merely a way for people to shirk their responsibility to love others and be sensitive to the feelings of others is very unproductive.



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ElizaDoolittle

posted November 16, 2009 at 9:06 am


Julie, the purpose of this discussion is to unpack what different people understand the term ‘political correctness’ to mean. To you, you see it as a code word to bash those who are mindful of language, terms etc that may come across as racist and sexist– to others it might mean something completely different. In my experience the word has been used by both people on the left and right.
As far as I can tell, this has been a respectful discussion, and a discussion that needs to be had, to ensure that everyone is on the same page, even if they don’t agree. I’m sorry, but I think you have missed the point of the discussion entirely- these are honest people asking honest questions, and for you to assume that this entire discussion is merely a way for people to shirk their responsibility to love others and be sensitive to the feelings of others is very unproductive.
Regarding the Fort Hood shootings, I think you are making a huge leap to think that the post about Hasan’s superiors not going on their instinct that something was up because they didn’t want to appear to discriminate against him on the basis of his faith, was a suggestion that they should have treated Muslims in the military with suspicion. It is an unfair statement and assumption, and not helping to help people balance the issues of national security and non-discrimination against the 99.999% good men and women in the military on the basis of their Muslim faith.



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