November 23, 2005

Political Correctness

So more than one person has commented on the the invitation to our speech (which, in case you haven't figured it out, didn't really include that particular picture of us). Particularly, people seem amused/distressed that the invitation would include an encouragement to bring your committed partner. Which has gotten me to thinking about political correctness generally.

I think everyone can admit that being PC at times does get a little comical--when you go from saying that someone is short to being vertically impaired, then to being vertically challenged, then to saying that they have an alternative height style. And its a little silly when someone writes a letter to the Editor at BYU when dad makes reference to young men serving missions, and later says something about girls serving missions. (the person was all upset that 19 year old males were young men, but 21 year old females were girls--the whole thing was stupid because (a) the reporter misquoted dad (b) they were spoken remarks and (c) he didn't say the two in the same breath. In the course of what he said, he describe males missionaries both as boys and young men, and described female missionaries both as girls and young women. But I digress). And of course the ultimate: the city of Albany trying to plan a social function, but getting in trouble for referring to it was either a (1) Picnic or (2) Gathering, because both terms were offensive to African-Americans. So they just cancelled the function. (on a related note, some IT departments are no longer allowed to make reference to master and slave computers, because it creates a racially hostile environment).

Anyway, for all it's potential for preposterousness, I am actually a fan of being PC. I appreciate it when someone has enough consideration for their audience to craft their remarks so as not to alienate them. There are simply rules that we live by, and you have to play by the rules, in spite of the fact that you may not agree with them, or people just aren't going to take you seriously. The PC ship has sailed. That's why I don't object to the announcement saying bring your committed partner. If you want those people to come who are not married, its nice to show them that you are aware they exist, and you would be happy to have them participate in what you are doing.

One really nice side-effect of PC (actually, PC-ness and this are both a symptom of something broader) is that it is very uncouth to criticize someone's religion these days. And it is very uncouth not to be willing to accommodate someone's religious beliefs. When I was in law school and I had to do group work with people who weren't even a shade religious, they never gave me so much as an ounce of trouble about not being available to work on Sunday.


1 comment:

Janell said...

I think that speaking PC is fun. Awhile back someone pointed out to me at work that I'm the only person in the building that frequently used the word "one" instead of "he or she" or "person." (e.g. "One must. . ." "I'd expect that one would. . .")

What tickled me about the flyer that in PC a "spouse" is a "committed partner" (though a "comitted partner" is not necessarily a "spouse"). They were essentially repeating themselves while excluding all of the uncommitted partners ;)

Now if they wanted to be super PC "all committed partner/s are invited to attend" would have been terrily amusing.