So here is my conclusion on the debate I witnessed tonight.
The ‘political correctness has gone to far’ side won.
This was later backed up by the audience vote.
Both sides attempted to present their sides well but unfortunately, the more PC side was better prepared for the application of words then the application of action. Thus came out weaker all the way through.
They did make some good points regarding the power of popular opinions being able to address wrongs. The deconstruction of established norms accepted from the narrow historical view of an elite. They at the end addressed the emotion of the debate by asking us to look into our own hearts and decide if PC is no longer needed, that if the racism and bigotry are still there, PC is still needed.
They missed several opportunities to counter arguments that would have helped their position. The best example I can think of was the Orange and Black day issue. The response was very weak saying the holiday has not changed, just the forum it can be used in. They neglected to address the reason Halloween is not encouraged in schools. That having a costumed terrorist sitting beside an Arab student, an Indian chief beside a native, encourages and reinforces stereotypes in our youth. It would have been a better response.
As for the winning side, a number of great points were made with striking examples. The orange and black day. Who decided it was offensive? Susan Toth made several references to personal experience with regime change that changed the flow of acceptable attitudes for the majority, and that if you don’t defend the debate when you are in the majority, how do you defend your position when majority opinion is against you?
Both members of the winning team addressed quite strongly that PC stifles debate. That fear of being labeled keeps not only those who oppose, but those who wish to learn silent. That only by the confutation of ideas can we accept or refute them.
In the end it got me thinking. There are two big flaws I see with PC. The first was addressed. That changing words does not address the issue. And in a conversation after the debate Malcolm and I explored the use of words. Words that were acceptable to describe people with certain conditions, then are used as insults towards others damaging the importance of the word and demeaning all. Changing the word doesn’t address the issue, it just presents another word to be misused the same way, ignoring the issues that that word describes.
The second thought, that was not addressed (and please excuse my bluntness) is this:
Are we trading one disparity for another? Have we used PC to protect minorities from harmful labels only to create new minorities that we label just as offensively?
Have we replaced Nigger, retard, fag, with bigot, feminist, Misogynist, extremist?
Something to consider.
Comments below if you got this far. Thank you
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