“Politically Correct” Does Not Mean “Correct”


Let’s talk a bit about political correctness.

I’m a grown woman. If you were being politically correct, you would assume that I’m an independent, sexually active woman who takes no orders, climbs the corporate ladder, demands equal pay, and plans to become CEO of a major organization.

You would, however, be incorrect. I am a happily married housewife, unemployed (outside the home), pregnant, and often found barefoot in the kitchen making sandwiches for my husband’s lunch. I would make a terrible CEO, and I feel I’ve always been paid the same as my male coworkers. I am an adult. You’ve got that right. The baby inside me attests that I’m sexually active – although I was (by choice) a virgin until my wedding day, so I probably don’t fit the feminist mold there, either.

Now let’s take a look at my brother. My brother is a grown man with Down syndrome and Autism. To be politically correct, you would generally assume that whenever he does something well, he has overcome great challenges, and should be praised. Whenever he’s done something wrong, however, you should give him some slack: he’s doing the best he can.

My brother can navigate you from here to Disneyland, if you’re willing to let him choose which streets to take. He’s driven the route once. (He wasn’t driving, actually – but you know what I mean.) But he didn’t overcome great challenges to learn to do this. It’s just a talent he has. He’s got a map in his head. He would look at you funny if you praised him for it. You’d also be incorrect if you assumed he was “doing his best” that one time when he threw up in my dad’s soda when Dad wasn’t looking. That wasn’t because he didn’t know any better. It was because he had a sick sense of humor.

It would be politically incorrect to assume any of these (correct) things about either of us, however, because we’re minorities. (Women aren’t actually a minority, but we’ve somehow gained that political status.) But are you really being politically correct if, in your effort to be so, you end up incorrect? At that point, you’re just political. And frankly, given the way politics go in this country, that means you’re dishonest, backbiting, manipulative, and blame someone else for everything that goes wrong.

Of course, I can’t say that about all politicians – it would be incorrect.

Do you see my dilemma here, though? I don’t want to offend people – but there’s something wrong if I’m not allowed to tell the truth about someone just because he’s gay, or she’s black, or he’s an illegal immigrant, or she’s a feminist. If my special needs brother does something stupid, I reserve the right to tell him to knock it off, because he’s not actually stupid. If my female friend wants to major in Home Economics, she should be applauded for seeking a college education in a field she enjoys, not torn down because she’s choosing a stereotypical field. If my gay coworker takes money from the till, he should be sacked for taking money from the till. If watermelon is delicious (which it is), I should be allowed to serve it to my black friends – because I like all my friends, and they all deserve to eat watermelon.

Can we please stop focusing on being political and just start being correct? ♦


2 thoughts on ““Politically Correct” Does Not Mean “Correct”

  1. That is not political correctness.

    Political correctness is courtesy, at one point- call people by the names we choose, gay rather than “homosexual” for example. Then, it is taking account of people’s characteristics, without assumptions, the opposite of what you attack.

    If a woman wants to be a housewife, that is fine. But in societies where women cannot go to university (Not that long ago, actually) it would have been wrong to praise a woman for “choosing” to be a housewife rather than go to university.

    • Thank you – you’ve brought up an idea I didn’t explore at length, but agree with – political correctness is supposed to be about treating people kindly, on an individual level rather than in sweeping generalizations. My critique is not of those who are sensitive to others, but of those who are so scared of offending people that they never get to know them. I also think some people take offense where none was meant, which raises further walls between people.

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