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Calling me politically incorrect violates my freedom of speech

Some time ago I was corrected by someone who felt a term I had used was “politically incorrect” and the person was offended by the term. I must assert that the term I used was not morally wrong, dirty or slanderous. It was merely what some might feel is politically incorrect by standards that have only existed over the last 20-30 years – created by someone out there who decided to coin the term – someone who decided suddenly what was and what wasn’t acceptable language.

The definition, according to Wikipedia, says that the term politically correct is not that new – “examples of the term can be found as early as the 18th century. The previous meaning was ‘in line with prevailing political thought or policy.’” Nowadays, the term – actually – political correctness – “is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies …” This is according to Wikipedia, which allows just about anyone to post anything on its side – within their rules …  not according to Webster’s Dictionary.

And it has nothing to do with politics.

I have long wondered who decides what is politically incorrect. Who decided we had to change the way we said things? Who decided what was right and what was wrong? I thought the Ten Commandments pretty much had that covered.

Somewhere along the line, words that were common, not meant to slander anyone and are not considered terrible now have the person speaking them criticized for being racist, prejudiced, socially and ethically offensive.

In fact, those who declare someone as being politically incorrect – is taking away one’s freedom of speech – a freedom this country’s forefathers fought hard for us to enjoy.

I consider myself a good Christian woman – a believer. I would never intentionally slander another person for his/her race, beliefs, way of life or physical condition, so why, if I use an old term, do I become the one being persecuted?

This person who found my term politically incorrect – never heard what I said fully. Instead, the person focused on the term, didn’t hear the context in which it was used and didn’t see the value in everything that was said.

Yet, I was made to feel like I should be censored, not express my opinion because at the ripe old age of 56, I still use some terms with which I was raised.

Do we live in a communist society where we cannot have freedom of speech any longer? It sure seems that way.

The “political correctness movement” distorts the actual seriousness of racial and gender discrimination – pointing blame at someone who means no harm through the use of politically incorrect words and taking the focus off of the real issues of the day.

To further elaborate on the ridiculous wave the term politically incorrect has moved toward – newspapers in Great Britain reported that a school there altered the nursery rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to what they felt was more politically correct – “Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep.” The original rhyme has been around since 1761 and to call it something racial is silly and a waste of anyone’s time.

The policing of language among the people of today has extended to the removal and attempted removal of long-time terms associated with religion – Christmas and Easter – just to name a few.

Seriously – is it really politically correct to call an Easter egg a spring-time decorated egg? Or how about calling a Christmas tree a prettily-decorated spruce tree for your December living room?

Now that’s a mouthful.

Along with freedom of speech – religious freedoms are being taken right out of our hands.

It seems politically incorrect words are much longer words and terms than the originals that denoted the same thing.

What about the politically correct term, administrative assistant versus secretary – another mouthful and for goodness sake – what’s the difference?

In the end, speaking politically correct does not make a person good or bad. Frankly, if one is speaking in the politically correct language deemed proper by some unnamed group of people – you truly cannot tell exactly what the person does believe. How would you tell the difference between Mother Theresa and Jack the Ripper as long as he/she spoke with political correctness?

The Bible tells us to speak the truth and speak it in love. Those are the true “politically correct” terms we should be using.

By Liz Johnson • liz@leaderpress.com

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4 Responses to Calling me politically incorrect violates my freedom of speech

  1. leah Reply

    July 4, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    so happy to see someone with common sense. attacking a word and ignoring the context does not help any of the issues the people who want political correctness also claim to want to fix. if my 98 year old grandmother calls someone “colored” when describing them it is seen as politically incorrect but when and where she was raised determined that to be the polite word. she is not racist. she has been the most loving, helpful person i have ever met and used to actively help strangers when she saw them hungry or in need of something. the politically correct police would have people like her, and apparently the author of this article, condemned for a different speech pattern than someone my age would use. it is crazy and takes away from real issues. God bless you for taking the time to express this.

  2. Wu Tang Reply

    September 14, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I disagree with your use of the word communism. In the article you say “Do we live in a communist society where we cannot have free speech any longer?”. I disagree with this because the idea of true anarchist communism supports free speech in a society based on respect.

    Thanks,
    Wu Tang

  3. PurpleTantrum Reply

    March 26, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    You misunderstand what freedom of speech is. It is the right to speak publically without governmental restraint or legal prosecution. Freedom of speech is not a protection from social disaproval or social criticism. The other thing to recognize is that words have power and while there is the denotive definition of a word, or dictionary meaning, and then there is the connotive definition, which is the undertone and social meaning attached to a word.

    We all have responses to the connotation of a word based on experience and cultural implication. We teach very small children the power of words when we censor them from using “rude” or “not nice” words or phrases. Adults should practice what they teach and speak from a place of love AND understanding. You would not want your grandchild to look at a woman from church and say, “Why is her face so wrinkled up? She’s OLD.” Why? Because our cultural says that old is a bad thing, a putdown. Noticing wrinkles and pointing them out is rubbing a person’s age in their face. The child is DEVALUING the person, especially because she’s a woman.

    It is also the case with some words that the connotive meaning does not affect as large of a group as all women. It could be a race, a religion, an economic class, the disabled. When we’re not in the group that is insulted then we don’t personally have an emotional and cultural response to the word, and it can be quite easy to miss the effect of what we say. An older white person, for example, has no negative experience attached to the words “colored” or “negro.” They may not be able to understand that those are offensive words because of the life experience of black people at the time that the words were used. Does that mean that we just dismiss it and tell blacks we will use the words because our inconvenience is the bigger issue? Only if we chose to be selfish and lack compassion.

    If people have the freedom to express themselves in any manner they choose, then others also have the freedom to express themselves by pointing out that there are better, more compassionate word choices.

    • Joe Reply

      February 20, 2017 at 12:18 am

      Words deemed “politically incorrect” vary from interaction to interaction. To expect me to have different versions of a word for different situations is unrealistic. This is all a matter of preference and intent. Example: take five “black” people and ask them of three commonly used terms to describe their race which if any offended them? One out of the five says that choice A offended them. One said it was B. One said C bothered them. The other two were okay with all of the choices. Am I expected to ask everyone ahead of time what is their word of preference during a conversation? You can be as compassionate as you want and have the best of intentions but it doesn’t matter because everyone is different. Society needs to create a least offensive term that is approved for use and if by chance you stumble upon someone who is offended then sorry but you can’t please everyone.

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