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Thread: Political Correctness

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Political Correctness

    Was just listening to the crusty ol' building inspectors exchange off-color jokes when one of them stands up looks around and says "you better make sure one of them isn't around or you'll get fired for being politically incorrect". It just struck me then - what the heck IS 'political correctness'. The phrase seems to be in common enough usage but I'm not convinced it's widely understood to have the same meaning to everyone.

    What do you understand the term to mean and what's so wrong about political correctness?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Plus
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    Really shouldn't say because it may offend somebody/everyone and expose me as possibly being/having a prejudice, or sterotyping, so I will not.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    What do you understand the term to mean and what's so wrong about political correctness?
    When terms are changed because the old term is suddendly deemed offensive is what I consider political correctness.
    i.e. invalid to handicapped to disabled
    or retarded to mentally handicapped to challenged

    Off-color jokes have never been considered acceptable. So I don't think political correctness applies.

  4. #4
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    I would say that for most people, Political Correctness is going out of your way to not offend someone for fear that you may be branded a racist or sexist even though you may not be. Something does not actually have to be racist/offensive in order for it to be politically incorrect - it only needs to offend people looking out for the best interests of the group the comment is aimed towards.

    To give an example: for a while Cartoon Network refused to play Speedy Gonzales cartoons not because they are racist or offensive to Hispanics, but because someone had decided that they might eventually be considered racist or offensive. Speedy was finally brought back after some Hispanic groups complained about his absence.

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    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Politically correct means that you modify your speach and actions to the point that what you say or do is as non-offensive to everyone as you can possibly make it, even though you say things that no normal person would ever say or do. This leads to:

    "personhole covers"
    "post-traumatic stress syndrome"
    The NCAA's decision about mascots
    What do you mean I can't plan? My SimCity has 200,000 people with a 99% happiness rating!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus
    Politically correct means that you modify your speach and actions to the point that what you say or do is as non-offensive to everyone as you can possibly make it, even though you say things that no normal person would ever say or do. This leads to:

    "personhole covers"
    "post-traumatic stress syndrome"
    The NCAA's decision about mascots
    Or my semi-protest description of me in my posting identifiers.



    Mike

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Yeah, I think it boils down to mostly cumbersome de-genderization of the language. Also there's the constant shifting of the names of ethnic groups. Negro -> Black -> African American, for instance, or Indian -> Native American -> Native Indian (what the hell does that mean?)

    One thing I can't stand is "Herstory." Mainly because there is no connection between the word "His" and "History" except that they both have the same first three characters. History is not "His-Story," "History" came from the french "Historie" which came from the latin "Histora." When the etimological root of the modern english word "history" took on the letters "his" the word "his" didn't even exist yet!

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Politically Correct is a concept made up by a bunch of bleeding heart liberals who take offence to everything under the sun.

    It can never truly exist. If I say I am going to drive to the store… it could be offensive to people who can’t drive, people who can’t afford to go to the store, any anyone who owns a business that is not a store. It is also offensive to people who don’t like the idea of people who are alone, or people that feel that the term “I” is representative of being regulatory and better than everyone else.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    political correctness = being offended by the use of the term "refugees" to refer to those seeking "refuge" from Hurricane Katrina.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    One of Kunstler's blog entries described PC as Maoism, i.e., there is only one official party line that is acceptable. Perhaps a grain of truth to it.

    I think of PC as a form of verbal/speech fashion. PC is far less trivial than what you wear, but like fashion, PC is fickle and evershifting. People would look aghast at the site of someone in say biker shorts at a wedding. Even though biker shorts are useful in the right context.

    PC is similar to tact, but with a stronger political dimension.

    On the one hand, the PC thing is an earnest attempt to call out language that is indicative of stereotypes or prejudice, and cut it off at the pass before if can spread. On the other hand, it is often applied in an inconsistent standard.

    Because of the historical legacy of slavery, it is acceptable for African Americans to be overtly ethnocentric, (i.e. BET network or "It's a black thing you wouldn't understand", or Ebony or Jet magazine) but it is considered unacceptable for whites to be overtly ethnocentric (There's no Pearl Magazine or WET network). Because of the historical exclusion "in fact" of African Americans from mainstream media, no one considers it un-PC for these Afrocentric media to exist, because they sprang up to alleviate the exclusion of A.A. in the larger media. It should be pointed out that these Afrocentric media aren't 100% Afrocentric, let alone Black Supremicist. But any American media that defines itself "in name" with a title that sounds Eurocentric/Whitecentric, is considered un-PC and possibly White Supremicist even if "in fact" it is just trying to be Euro-feel-good instead of "We're better than anyone else" or anti-some other group. However is is acceptable for European Americans to call attention to their ancestral heritage through nationality such as saying "I'm Irish or Italian", etc.

    Given that "Whiteness" arose as a cultural identity, as a result of slavery, it is not something to be proud of. And although "Blackness" arose as a cultural identity, as a result of slavery too, it was the oppressed side, and therefore deserves to be allowed to carry a certain pride to it.

    Over time, if Blacks and Whites equalize their status in society, the ethnocentric titles of BET, Jet or Ebony may come to be considered un-PC, but for now they are considered acceptable. Or perhaps Euro-Americans will be able to be more culturally prideful, untarnished by guilt over slavery.

    With gender, most ads for home cleaning products feature women, which isn't as acceptable as it used to be (in the June Cleaver 1950's) so you do see some ads in the vein of a Mr. Mom variety to balance things out. However, since there is still a larger basis in fact to assume that women are the ones who usually clean house, (whether because males are too lazy to do it or because females are stay at home moms) it isn't really considered un-PC at this point to show a gender bias in ads. But it is always changing.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Politically Correct is a concept made up by a bunch of bleeding heart liberals who take offence to everything under the sun.
    While liberal politicians might be more to blame for some of the more common politically correct terms, I don't think political correctness is just a liberal thing. Political correctness is relative to the audience. When Fox News renames suicide bombers as homicide bombers thats political correctness. If in speaking to a conservative "family values" group you make sure to not use certain terms to upset the easily offended its all political correctness. Some people just have different politics you've got to be "correct" with.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus
    "personhole covers"
    And I always thought "manhole" covers were just trousers!

    Just think, a "personhole" cover is now more inclusive to include trousers and skirts!

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Politically Correct is a concept made up by a bunch of bleeding heart liberals who take offence to everything under the sun.
    Serious question: Would you include those "liberals" with the groups that perpetuate the term "faith-based organization"?
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 21 Sep 2005 at 1:16 PM.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Serious question: Would you include those "liberals" with the groups that perpetuate the term "faith-based organization"?
    I wouldn't, because from what I've read, "faith-based" was invented as a way for Republicans to push their agenda of getting religion into typical non-religious institutions, such as schools.

    However, since this is about PC-ness, I'll offer another liberal-ism:

    "economically challenged"
    What do you mean I can't plan? My SimCity has 200,000 people with a 99% happiness rating!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Politically Correct is a concept made up by a bunch of bleeding heart liberals who take offence to everything under the sun.
    I'll remember this the next time I hear a complaint about the term "bible-thumpers".

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Politically Correct is a concept made up by a bunch of bleeding heart liberals who take offence to everything under the sun.

    It can never truly exist. If I say I am going to drive to the store… it could be offensive to people who can’t drive, people who can’t afford to go to the store, any anyone who owns a business that is not a store. It is also offensive to people who don’t like the idea of people who are alone, or people that feel that the term “I” is representative of being regulatory and better than everyone else.
    Oh come on. More inflamatory words. (There are plenty of examples of conservative political correctness, too. Like the whole brouhaha about "Under God" mandatotily mumbled by a 15 year old at home room is somehow necessary.)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Sorry that we bleeding hearts have been so savage in the forwarding of our Communist word control agenda....

















    .... probably not a good time to say I'm becoming a Socialist.

    ("Is Z Man kidding, or is he testing the waters of his Cyburbian associates... ")
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    And I always thought "manhole" covers were just trousers!

    Just think, a "personhole" cover is now more inclusive to include trousers and skirts!
    Yeah, I thought "personhole" was a pretty obscene thing to say. Is that Work Safe?

    I think political correctness arises out of the awareness that casual comments can reflect deep biases. PC talk tries to avoid actually understanding the view of the other side and, instead, merely tries to sterilize everything so it means basically nothing. You lose a certain richness and meaning with it. In this very forum, I once poltically-corrected my way out of communicating what I meant. The translation for my comment was, basically, "retard". But I was reluctant to say that bluntly.

    Political correctness is a poor substitute for genuinely respecting and caring about the folks you are talking about and trying to not offend. I think use of PC language usually suggests that you are an ignorant outsider who does not actually know how to speak about the person or their particular subculture. PC language is often pretty bad form, imo. We all have to start somewhere and I guess an awareness that your opinions may be offensive and insulting is a first step but lots of folks never go beyond that and simply feel it is the "fault" of the "overly sensitive" person taking offense and not a legitimate complaint (like jmello's comments suggest about the use of "refugee" in this forum). I don't generally mention it but I take offense at the degree to which members of Cyburbia treat me like "(That pathetic sick person <pat condescendingly on the head>) I hope you feel better soon". I don't get that any place else I participate regularly. And I imagine most folks think they are being kind or are trying to be kind when they say things like "I hope you feel better soon.". But it just betrays to me the fact that I am pitied, looked down upon, and that they don't really understand me at all. I often wonder if I should stay and try to raise awareness with my presence or leave and wash my hands of the constant slights that I receive here and no place else. Because I genuinely don't expect most folks here to understand my point of view about that and I figure most folks will just think "the pathetic sick person must be having a bad day that she is whining about something so trivial".

  18. #18
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    While liberal politicians might be more to blame for some of the more common politically correct terms, I don't think political correctness is just a liberal thing. Political correctness is relative to the audience. When Fox News renames suicide bombers as homicide bombers thats political correctness. If in speaking to a conservative "family values" group you make sure to not use certain terms to upset the easily offended its all political correctness. Some people just have different politics you've got to be "correct" with.
    I have not noticed that but I that is a great point. They did not want to loose the entire liberal population to CNN so they tried to make the liberal nut-jobs happy by sugar coating the term. I have heard many people still refer to them as Suicide Bombers.


    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Serious question: Would you include those "liberals" with the groups that perpetuate the term "faith-based organization"?
    I think that everyone uses that term. Not just liberals or conservatives. I think that it can also have several meanings. An organization that is based on faith can be any type of religion or religious organization, church, sect, denomination, cult, group, or other group type structure with any aspect of faith in any meaning can be called faith based.

    I would like to see people call things like that for what they are... such as Church, Cult, Convents, or Religious Order.
    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    I'll remember this the next time I hear a complaint about the term "bible-thumpers".
    Hey, there are some people out there that are Bible Thumpers, I a friends with some of them. I have done some thumping my self when it comes to some topics.

    They can also be called preachers, pastors, fathers, priests, church youth leaders, church goers, or persons who are actively and outwardly religious.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  19. #19
    We spend so much time looking into the abyss, but if you turn around, you can see that PC has brought us a long way from the days when names were freely used that were meant to divide and to hurt and that succeeded in doing so.

    Progress, I'd say.
    Batter up!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    .... probably not a good time to say I'm becoming a Socialist.

    ("Is Z Man kidding, or is he testing the waters of his Cyburbian associates... ")
    Come back to the light, Z-Man.

    Besides, yoiu are awful close to the Command and Control Center in Colorado Springs. Now that Dear Leader's favorite minister (Pat Robertson) has approved fatwahs on Enemies of the State, you might expect a visit from the Men in Black.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Come back to the light, Z-Man.

    Besides, yoiu are awful close to the Command and Control Center in Colorado Springs. Now that Dear Leader's favorite minister (Pat Robertson) has approved fatwahs on Enemies of the State, you might expect a visit from the Men in Black.

    SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I have also noticed black helicopters flying around my area of the county.... one was hovering in the yard shining a light into my room this morning... good thing I have a dog.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I have also noticed black helicopters flying around my area of the county.... one was hovering in the yard shining a light into my room this morning... good thing I have a dog.
    Speaking of Dogs Zman, how is she doing?

  23. #23
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    We're getting a little bit OT here, but the Throbbing Brain's answers have confirmed what I suspected - that while there is this general notion that 'politically correct' in a general sense pertains to avoiding offense through particular language (contrived to that end) there really is no universally accepted definition. I guess it's sorta like pron - you know it when you see it.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  24. #24
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    We're getting a little bit OT here, but the Throbbing Brain's answers have confirmed what I suspected - that while there is this general notion that 'politically correct' in a general sense pertains to avoiding offense through particular language (contrived to that end) there really is no universally accepted definition. I guess it's sorta like pron - you know it when you see it.
    pron and PC, yes, idealogical bedfellows indeed.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  25. #25
    Cyburbian circusoflife's avatar
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    The fantasy/lust - of/with/for happy endings. That is a major cause of PC.

    I would think twice before buying a McDonald's 'Happy' Meal too.

    PC is another form of double-speak perhaps. It's also a result of the simple saying -

    "Hey - How's it Going?"

    where you then promptly proceed to walk away without listening for the answer, or only expect to hear "It's ok."

    Everything is ok...there are no problems.......'it's all good'

    Keep tap dancing!
    - Beware more of the man in the fancy cloak, than the one in tattered clothing -

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