Has ‘PC’ culture gone too far?

Jonathan Watt, Opinion Editor

Seventy-one percent of Americans, in a recent survey from CATO, say that political correctness ”…silence[s] discussions society needs to have.” In today’s political landscape, that is all too true; a well-intentioned and balanced argument can be derailed by claiming that an opponent’s views are due to their racial advantages, effectively removing ideology and introducing identity politics as the focal point.

Bayard Rustin, a gay, black civil rights leader in the 60s quoted from Coleman Hughes of the NYT, describes this behavior perfectly: “In the past few years, I have seen all too many blacks fall into the trap of calling any white person who disagrees with them a racist.”

Rustin, active in the Socialist movement and often an opening speaker for Martin Luther King, Jr., showed subversive, anti-PC (before there was such a term) ideas in countless instances throughout his life. In relation to the civil rights violations of the time, Rustin urged his colleagues to cease making the “black vs. white” argument. He simplified it to address the issue: It was not the color of the oppressor’s skin but oppression itself.

But how to combat this derailment? PC culture is muting our discussions about real issues; therefore, it must be reevaluated. Talk with your “opponent” and candidly find a middle ground. Effective dialogue cannot occur when there are things that cannot be said in fear of appearing exclusive. In an editorial from HuffPost, this issue is addressed: “It doesn’t really matter whether the PC Police come from the Right or the Left; the result is the same. These days everyone is so afraid of being called “sexist” or “racist”… that we all tiptoe carefully around diversity issues and avoid them altogether if we possibly can.”

Polarization has cut so deep that both the left and the right fail to see that censorship is social injustice.

— Jonathan Watt

The solution sounds simple, but understand: Polarization has cut so deep that both the left and the right fail to see that censorship is social injustice. As many preach fairness and tolerance in its defense, the encroachment is an equivalent evil to the social injustice it’s supposed to combat. According to the BBC, a first-grade math teacher was “…investigated after he said ‘well done girls’ to a group that included a student who identifies as a boy.” From a mistake, came a career-ending scandal; and these consequences show some alarming similarities to their alt-right counterparts.

The alt-right and the far left’s PC politics represent a lack of critical thinking. Both place groups of people into categories based on race or economic status, and both cause identity-based disruption in ideology-based politics. Such blockage has no place in American politics. This is why PC practices must be reevaluated, and the opportunity for real and civil political discourse must be restored.