We are going to talk about why political correctness is important, and why it is not.
To start, think about the last time you had to limit yourself to say something because it may offend someone. Now, think about the last time someone had to limit themselves from saying something because it may offend you; different isn’t it? This is a student website, so we will focus on political correctness, or PC culture as some people may call, on campus, whether that is in high school or college.
Why is it important? In my classes, there are times I have seen my professors stop themselves from mentioning certain phrases in order to not offend a student. On one hand, it is great that professors care about their students’ feelings. On the other hand, it’s not so great when it changes the class dynamic and it may create resentment from students who do not understand political correctness, either because no one has fully explain them what it is, or because they do not want to know its definition.
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Either way, here are a few ways, in my opinion, as a student who also happens to be a minority, to express your opinion while still respecting your peers in class:
Think before you talk:
It does not mean stay quiet because your opinion may anger someone. It means being a nice person and trying to speak in a diplomatic way.
Put yourself in their shoes:
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Not being born in the United States or looking like if you were not born here is hard by itself, but imagine having a family member serve in the country’ military or having your own small business. Even if you were not born here, you feel patriotism for the country you are living in and most likely grew up in.
How you feel matters:
If you are worried that what you are about to say may hurt someone in your classroom, it often means you are a nice person and care about others; that matters. It is a huge difference when you compare a person like you and a person that openly says racial or homophobic slurs just because they can.
They will get over it:
Not counting the few people who hold a grudge, they will most likely forget what you said if your intentions were to truly advance class discussion by expressing your opinion without bias.
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It really annoys me that, as a minority, whenever I am in a group discussion or a group project related to a class, many of the members refrain from saying certain words or opinions; that is not helping anyone. Whichever side you are, know that you can trust each other, and that context matter. If this has ever happened to you, speak up and tell them they can speak their mind, or if you see yourself in the other hand, tell in advance that you are saying your opinion, again, nicely.
Take a social/political science class:
You will learn so much about the human mind and the history of your own country and the world. It will also teach you the stories behind politically correctness and why it is important to express your opinion. You will also learn about norms and how it changes over time, maybe even in your lifetime.
Freedom of speech is a luxury many countries have, including the United States. You should also know that no matter whom you are, people will limit what they say around you, not for political correctness, but out of kindness.
There will always be people who are not open minded, but in most cases, they will be glad to hear your opinion, and it will help you with your personal growth, which is one of the main reasons why you are in school in the first place.