Thursday, October 26, 2006

Richard Lin's article on Political Correctness

YE4A 1094100028 Richard Lin

I am more sympathetic with those who believe the P.C. movement carries its reform efforts too far than those who advocate politically correct language. People’s attempts to monitor both written and spoken words have become somewhat extreme. Although people would like to see the word change to fit multicultural society, it will also cause us to change our way of life. Our language is on the brink of absurdity because we hide our true identities and inequalities with euphemisms. Some terms are so euphemistic that it makes us ignore the essential meaning of original words, which are concerned with different race, religious and gender. It is obvious that choosing to refer to problems with politically correct term does nothing to fix the problem. Instead of calling the homeless “the underhoused”, we had better give them a place to live. We almost forget the seriousness of people’s hard situation by creating such language. The freedom of speech and expression is also prevented from simply taking out the political incorrect terms. We cannot talk about the existing problems deeply due to the fact that we have turned the words or phrases into mere questions of semantics. If we continue to only concentrate on the surface of word’s meaning, the problems will still not be solved. Likewise, we cannot decrease the rate of violent crimes by avoiding using violent expressions and metaphors. After I have read “The Word Police”, I found the so-called “political correct language” is somewhat of a joke. Kakutani gave us a statement that said even Superman was reincarnated as four ethnically diverse clones. It is not appropriate to change every words that seems offensive to conform to the world free of racism and hate because the way it change the basic meaning of words leads to destroy the significance and characteristics of each words and phrases. The situation goes further complicated by the fact that members of selected groups want to embrace the words others seek to change. For example, blacks still want to use the word “nigger” to strip the term of its racist connotations and homosexuals still want to use the word “queer” to reclaim it from bigots. Kakutani in the article clearly points out that all these rules can make for some messy moral dilemmas. It gets some people to be offended instead of not being offended. I think there are many words waiting for us to change, and it is hard to know whether the changed word is good or not. Finally, it may cause serious vicious circle.

No comments: