When did “politically correct” become a sneering joke?
According to an online dictionary, the term “politically correct” was first used back in 1930s. The idea of trying not to inadvertently offend seems to have been around for a long time. And, as society progresses, we make changes to our language and behavior as we come to learn that certain things offend other people. It’s a learning process, and one that’s constantly evolving.
However, now the term seems to be an insult bandied about, as if we should all revert back to whatever Archie Bunker-like behavior we feel like using, saying whatever we feel like saying, and doing whatever we feel like doing because it’s too – what – annoying? conventional? “big brother” to attempt not to offend someone? Oh, I’m so very sorry for you that it’s so hard for you to not be offensive. Not.
It’s almost impossible to suggest a change to offensive behavior anymore without someone whining that the world has become “too PC.” Because that’s so bad. Sure, we should go back to calling women “skirts,” “tomatoes” and “broads.” Or “slits,” even, if that’s what you feel like saying. We could go back to using a whole lot of nasty words for African-Americans, or for various immigrants, or people of different religions, ethnicities or sexual persuasions than our own. Because we should be able to say and do and wear whatever we want! Because ‘Murica! I want to do what I want and I’m going to behave however I feel like it, and if you have a problem with it, you are just “too PC.”
“Politically” aside, the key word in the phrase is “correct.” Put simply, if you don’t want to behave properly, you are incorrect. You can hang whatever hat you want on it, cry “unfair!” behind your face paint, be it red or black, but you’re incorrect. You’re wrong.
“I ain’t equipment, I ain’t automatic
You won’t find me just staying static
Don’t you give me any orders
For people like me
There is no order…
Problem, the problem is you
What you gonna do with your problem
I’ll leave it to you”
– Sex Pistols, “Problems”