Should we be politically correct? Some say that being politically correct has gone too far, as it negatively affects freedom of speech. Inferring that if we are politically correct we will no longer have freedom of speech? My article today shall address the importance of being politically correct, while also sharing one’s points of view. This article is written from the mind’s eye of a Psychotherapist. The two need not smash the other (Political Correctness VS. Freedom Of Speech), both can co-exist not always harmoniously, but co-exist never the less.
I Believe In Freedom Of Speech
I do believe in freedom of speech. I often assert my perspective about a variety of topics that angers some people and others adore. Is that not what freedom of speech is all about? Being able to share one’s perspectives of which some will agree with and some do not? Controversial things I do say at times, not because I mean to be controversial. Rather, I believe it is sensible for there to be different opinions, and as a Psychotherapist if there is a concerning trend, or a problem I see in front of me that I have observed negatively affects the mental health and wellness of people, I will state as such. It is those assertions that at times may be deemed as controversial simply because some agree and some do not. Is it not within my right to share those observations? I am told by some that in my profession we are not supposed to have an opinion. Hm. I disagree. For example, my stance on Polyamory (having sex/love with others in addition to one’s mate) is a topic in which I often get attacked by those who live a polyamorous lifestyle stating that I am behind the times and not being understanding. I disagree. I do believe that if you have knowledge or experience of something you should speak up your voice. I have observed in my counseling of couples, families and individuals since 1993, that polyamory for far too many couples; it results in relationship suicide.
It may appear that my first paragraph is arguing FOR freedom of speech and thus AGAINST being politically correct. That would be a completely inaccurate assumption if that is the message you are receiving thus far.
Political Correctness VS. Freedom Of Speech
I do not believe this is an “either/or debate” (either there is political correctness and thus no freedom of speech, or there is no political correctness and thus there is freedom of speech). Rather I assert this is a “both/and” concept. Meaning: I vehemently believe in Political Correctness (PC). I strongly believe in PC, full on, I am all for it. I also believe in freedom of speech – within appropriate boundaries with professionalism and kindness in a politically correct way, yup there it is I said it! Free is not SO free, rather a manageable free. PC is a necessity and to even think otherwise is ridiculous. Managing one’s speech is a necessity and to think otherwise is ignorant. Communicating one’s perspectives and beliefs is not “free speech”, – it’s managed speech, or at least needs to be at times…
For example, when a person tweets that I am a “crack pot” for asserting my perspective that parents should provide their 8 year old child with supervision, I delete and ban their tweet. (Yes, I am often ridiculed for my perspective that children before the age of 10 should have adult oversight and not be left in the park for several hours by themselves, by followers of the “free range parenting” cult). Whereas if those parents who feel a 6 year old should be left to “free range” for several hours without adult oversight and they tweet that they “disagree with my perspective”, I keep the tweet. Why? The answer is: I believe PC is about HOW we communicate with one another about our beliefs, not always about WHAT we communicate. I believe in free speech, though appropriately managed. I also believe PC is literally about WHAT we communicate, and thus yes, this is true that we are not experiencing freedom of speech always, if we live a PC lifestyle. And, guess what? That is way ok in my opinion. Why? Because we should have a filter! We don’t have to say everything all the time we are thinking otherwise we are animals. One person’s filter is not the same as another’s, and certainly determining how much of a filter in each situation is not always clear, and there is no cookie cutter approach. Though my point remains.
Political Correctness Is Of Value
All in all, my opinion about being politically correct is that political correctness is not something to be slammed! PC holds real value! Yes, yes, yes, some people get offended very easily, which can be frustrating for the person who wishes to just freely share their thoughts. There are comics who perform and they say things that are not PC. There are writers who say things that are not PC. There are teachers, parents, friends… the list goes on. And, there are people of whom feelings will be hurt, and guess what? That will continue to happen. Political correctness is not about never saying anything ever and thus NO speaking what is on one’s mind. As to whom decides and defines what is deemed politically correct vs. not, what is going too far in speech and freedom of speech and what should be more managed vs. what should be super duper free… well, we don’t have a clear answer on that now do we?
So, let’s take a moment and consider the value of PC, while recognizing that freedom of speech can also mean a managed speech in which we have a filter of sorts to some not so clearly defined degree.
3 Examples Of The Value Of Political Correctness
- Specifically I believe from a therapist’s lens it has made us a kinder more understanding of people.
- Through PC we as a culture are more sensitive to hearing the voice of others, and understanding the view points of others.
- Tolerance and understanding and trying to take in the whole picture to make an informed decision about whatever the topic may be is a positive thing that has come from PC.
Does PC eradicate hate or prejudice, no, it does not. Is PC necessary and needed in our culture? Oh yes it is!