The misconception of political correctness

Chael Williams, The Hi-Times, Staff Writer

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It’s kind of ironic that I am writing an article on political correctness while trying not to offend anyone but still voice how I feel, huh? I believe that sentence can be described as how many Americans these days feel.

It is also my belief that we as a nation have misconstrued what political correctness is in its true form. Political correctness is not the idea that we shouldn’t voice our opinions because we are too afraid of how people will view us or if it will offend someone. Political correctness is the art of having an opinion and sharing it in a way that is respectful and understanding.

Too many times in our society people have not taken a stand in their own beliefs because of the fear of others’ beliefs. This country we live in was bred on the ideals of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, etc. This freedom we are promised gives us the right to an opinion and have beliefs, which is what makes America great. We should be thankful for that blessing and take full advantage of it, not let what other people believe or feel affect our opinions, beliefs or morals.

We must be sure, however, to do this in a respectful way. How can we expect anyone to listen to us if we do not treat them with the basic respect that all people deserve? No one will want to listen to you if you are treating them like they are below you, more of a “sinner” than you, or more “close-minded” than you. People respond and are able to communicate well and in a civilized manner if you talk to them as your equal,because in reality, you are no better than them and they are no better than you.

It is also important to remember that if you should be able to voice your opinion, others should be able to do the same to you and receive the same respect that you were given. So often we can dish out our opinions, but whenever someone claims to disagree, even in a considerate and polite way, we become angry and feel attacked. Listening to other people’s views, although you may not agree, can be a learning experience to better understand why people believe what they believe and can help unite us as a whole society.

But this is also two-way street. I am not talking to just one side of the population right now. ALL people should be able to speak their opinions and not fear others no matter the race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, etc. Through this mutual understanding and respect that can be formed, we will be able to grow and be able to unite better as a human race. As Martin Luther King once said, “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” King wants us to realize hate and slander will get us nowhere, but love, understanding and respect will.

So next time you are in a group of people who may not have the same beliefs as you, voice your opinion. Explain to them why you believe the way you do in a respectful and kind way, and do not be afraid of how they will think of you. As long as you are using respectful and non-offensive words, only they can be in the wrong.

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