There are a lot of things that divide Americans –– Coke or Pepsi, Apple or Android, or whether you believe if political correctness violates your freedom of speech.
The political correctness debate is no small misunderstanding. According to the Pew Research center, 59 percent of Americans believe that “too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use.”
However, the center of this debate does not revolve around word choice, rather, a misunderstanding of what political correctness is trying to accomplish. Hint: It’s not about limiting your rights.
It is easy to think that P.C. has gone too far with attention-grabbing stories such as a group of women boycotting a pub for playing “Blurred Lines” or a Frisco elementary school banning the colors red and green and Christmas trees during their winter party.
The reaction against these extreme examples promotes a misconception that political correctness is synonymous to censorship. However, this is not censorship in the literal sense of a government regulating the passage of information. Rather this P.C. is censorship to the silent majority, which are a group of Americans beginning to feel excluded in their country for the first time.
The Trump campaign took note of this and even built a platform over the supposed violations of political correctness, extending their claims to suggest that politicians are so preoccupied being P.C. that they ignore the actual issues at hand. It also supports the idea of translating P.C. as violation of their first amendment right since they are not allowed to say or do things that they were previously entitled to.
Despite their arguments, reasoning or backgrounds, it should not be forgotten that the negativity towards P.C. stems from the fact that the silent majority feel, well, silenced.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, political correctness is “conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.”
What this reveals is a common point between people who are for and against political correctness — silencing. The silent majority believes that they are being threatened of their culture at the face of increasing diversity and representation — they are facing a fear of change.
Whereas on the other side, political correctness is not about getting revenge and limiting the dominant group’s rights. Rather, it is about respect.
At the end of the day, both groups want respect. The conservative side asks for respect for how things were in the past, while the liberal side asks for respect for their own identity and culture. It is time to think of political correctness the way it was meant to be — a call for respect.
Fernandez is a rhetoric and writing and Spanish senior from Allen. She is a senior columnist.