PC or non-PC? Political correctness?


 What do you think about PC?
Is it a feminist-led protest or a weird need for reformation?
what are its disadvanatges and advantaags?
it would be interesting to know the opinion of the native speakers as well as learners of English.

 Это насилие над языком.

 Ну, то есть не во всех случаях. Называть негров неграми, наверное, невежливо. А вот называть проституток sex workers - дурость.

 I believe PC is bullcrap used for hypocritical purposes. What is it needed for? Merely to hide contempt for people. If one disrespects some people it's not that hard to find linguistic means to show it, be they 'offensive' words or not. I use Russian word "негры" because I see nothing wrong with this word. And never have. As I have never seen anything wrong with негры, whom I respect as I respect all people in general. I don't use 'Negro' only because black people find it offensive. But I really hate this state of affairs. It's people who fill words with meaning and not vice versa (I know its a debatable issue though). We wouldn't talk much about PC if we didn't hate and scorn. And now we're all in the eye of a crazy linguistic hurricane - we can't use some words, so we have to come up with other, but very soon those other words start sounding suspicious and we have to look for something else again and again. More importantly it doesn't affect the total amount of hatred and scorn in any way.

Same thing with feminism. Ive always respect women. End of story. But when I hear a bit of feminist crap, I wanna ran away before its finished. The most stupid thing I ever heard was that the word woman itself is bad because it contains the man part. Whats all this about? I honestly believe it has nothing to do with loving, caring and respectful attitude to women; it sounds more like a mental illness, like paranoia.

To sum it up: I dont believe in PC because theres always a way to express the inner crap of yours. So its the crap we should start with.


 Alexander! I agree with you!
in fact this (IMHO) silly process of deliberate cleaning the language from the "unwanted" words can be compared with the one described in Orwell's 1984.
I fear to think what they will do next? what other words will become "unwanted"? Love - (because it hurts the feelings of homosexuals?), hope, belief - because it doesnt suit those who don't believe in any God?
well, it seems strange that people decided to avoid solving a problem (if there is one) by stopping to use some particular words (which supposedly have some сonnection with the problems).

 Next there may be a case when someone's gonna find himself hurt just by the fact that others like you and me, Евгения, produce utterances and write texts! To be totally politically correct means to shut up completely. Total nonsense...

 Hmmm, a tricky one, really....I used to be really against political correctness, but sometimes we've got to face the facts that times have changed, we live in a modern world, and, hopefully, a more equal society, and you can't go around saying anything you like about people. Some words can cause real offence and belittle people to the point of them feeling completely inadequate, even sub-human. When I go to countries that aren't perhaps as liberal as the UK (not naming any names!), the amount of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic language troubles me. Yes, in private, and in jest, I don't think there's anything wrong with using racial steretypes, for example, in conversation. But you have to choose your audience very carefully. I would never use such language in any way other than as a joke amongst close friends. There is a fine line between using un-PC names for ethnic minorities in everyday life (and not joking), and harbouring fascist opinions.

 "I would never use such language in any way other than as a joke amongst close friends" - same thing, Will! I completely subscribe to what you have written in your post!

I also do face the facts but can't get rid of the idea that PC is a double-edged thing.

 I simply cannot understand why impose restriction on using some words instead of teaching people how to be polite.....? tolerant?

 Evg, I thought I had a mission teaching Russia to speak English, but you want to teach the world to love? Go forth and multiply, as they say, you have my blessing, but it won't be an easy task.

 =))))))))) well, thank you. But the last time one guy wanted to teach people to love he ended up badly =( I don't think I have a chance to do better.
so I will not even try.

P.S. I hope none of the said above was non-PC =)

 Evg., I have to disagree with you. Politically correct words are necessary. Language has always expressed people's beliefs and values, and since most of us want to live to a democratic society where everyone is equal, we have to get rid of derogatory words, at least used in public. Believe me, there are so many words that I cannot even type here (e.g., "porch .....y" for a black person, "leaf-blower" for a Mexican, "fa." for a homosexual). These words are offensive, they were created by racist, bigoted people and there is no place for them in modern society and language.

 I am not against PC, I am for equity, tolerance and freedom of speech.

here is an interesting site. www[.]politicallyincorrect[.]me[.]uk

 Technically speaking, there is no law in the US (not sure about UK or Russia) that prohibits using racist or otherwise biased words. This is why we say there is freedom of speech. However, if you use such words in public you will be ostracized, your business will have fewer clients, etc.

Freedom is not only about enjoying your rights but also respecting other people's rights, too.

 Yes, that's all true but how does my not using words like 'fa.' or the n-word express my attitude to homosexuals and black people? What does it say about me?

 Not using them? It might suggest you're a foreigner who doesn't know how to properly abuse those who are outside of your cultural boundaries. :)

More likely though it will show you as a cultured, thoughtful human, wise to the sensibilities of others.

 Alex, freedom of speech personaly for me doesn't mean freedom to use racist or some biased words, freedm of speech means that we can name things as they are named. and not aiming to be "politically" correct.
PC will not change attitude to some (maybe) marginalized groups, because the idea of PC in itself is to change the word not atitude of people, their gender,poliical, nation bias.
cause and consquence? do you see the differece?

no more discussing this.


 It seems Evgenia has already ended the conversation! Now that's definitely not freedom of speech.
Evgenia, when you say 'name things as they are named', I think you're missing the point. These 'names', which I assume refer to racial and cultural stereotypes, were started by bigoted people with no respect whatsoever for the rights of others.

 I ended this conversation only for myself, I have nothing else to add, that's all. BUt if anyone wants to join in, how can I have anything agaist it? =)

and I am sorry I have difficulty with expressing my thoughts.

 Evgenia, there is no need to get so emotional; after all, there is freedom of speech, and it's perfectly ok to have different opinions.

Evgenia, I am afraid that you don't understand what caused PC. The idea behind PC movement was to show people that attitudes reflected by biased vocabulary are not acceptable; thus, such words should not be used in public.

I suspect that you might be somewhat insensitive to pragmatic shades of meaning in English. Here's a mental experiment for you. Imagine your teacher of English literature talking about "this fag Oscar Wilde" or your history teacher referring to Barack Obama as "the n... guy". Of course, I really doubt that they will do so.

How about this: Let's say your hair is red and everyone calls you "a ginger". You go to school and you hear,'Hey, you ginger". You go to the store and the person at the checkout refers to you as "that ginger kid". Would you personally like it?

How do we know whether this or that word is offensive or nor? Ask native speakers or look it up in a good English dictionary. Such words are labeled as "offensive: a word that is used intentionally to insult or offend someone."

I completely agree with William (post no. 18). Linguists usually call such words loaded because they express people's attitudes to certain groups of society or types of behavior. However, you should call people what they prefer to be called. And if Jews and gays think that "kike" (sorry) or "fag" (sorry, again) are offensive, we should respect their opinion and do not use such words in public.

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