Regarding the myth/idea/meaning/practice of Political Correctness.
I have no idea what it really means. I know what it started out to be and why. I’m aware of the history of the actual term. I understand the concept and some of the common perceptions that people have of PCness. I’ve heard the arguments against it and the arguments for why some sort of standards are a good idea. I’ve heard people mindlessly praise being ‘PC’ and I’ve heard people advertise their own ignorance by proudly announcing, “I don’t believe in Political Correctness.”
The thing is, I don’t know what you personally mean when you say PC, because you have your own idea. You’ve brought your own baggage and perception to the definition party. Before any discussion of what is or isn’t PC and whether or not it’s valid can take place, every person involved in the discussion has to come up with a working definition of PC that will be used for the length of that particular discussion. Sounds like a nightmare to me.
Words have power. They are loaded, dripping, overflowing with meaning. One word can mean a multitude of things to a multitude of people. Words can be hurled in assault and they can be reclaimed with sass.
The words a person hears, and overhears, influence and shape that person. Words go a long way toward expressing the character of the person using them. But even in saying that I am judging the character based on what I personally bring to the understanding of a particular word.
Here’s something I do know: a lot of words are painful to a lot of people.
I also know that I have a creative enough mind and a large enough vocabulary that leaving a few words out here and there doesn’t hurt my ability to express myself. Particularly if those words are fraught with a legacy of abuse, misunderstanding and oppression.