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Political Correctness



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political correctness 
Some people obviously would like to know how the term
"Politically Correct" came into being. Here is something valuable you might
want to read. If someone is interested to know more about politically
correct and socially acceptable terms used to racism, abusing people in
public and "civilized" speeches, calling people Handicapped, short or tall,
and many more controversial things, I will be happy to help, although most
of the things are already available in the world wide web.
Hope this sets some doubts to the "Politically Correct" debate of the IPI.
As far as I am concerned, I would rather be brutally correct on facts and
issues when it comes to matters related to Indian Society and nation rather
then trying to be Politically correct. 
Umesh Tiwari
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Daniel J. Martinez, "Museum Tags," 1993 Whitney Biennial
(Robert Berman Gallery). 
The origins of the phrase "political correctness" are lost somewhere
in the rambling, clique-riddled history of the American left. Was the term
first used by Depression-era Leninists to applaud vigilant party liners? Or
did it migrate from China in tribute to Mao's various pronouncements on
this-or-that form of rectitude? Was it a put-down of overzealous comrades?
Or praise of the highest order? Whatever the answers, by the early 1990s
political correctness had transcended its sectarian origins and become a
figure of everyday speech. "You're so uptight" became "You're so politically
correct" as commentators of every persuasion sought the moral high ground by
attaching the label to their opponents. The Comedy Central talk show
Politically Incorrect </aentries/p/politicalxi.html> congratulated itself in
its title for candid discussions of public issues; PCU (1994), a middling
campus comedy, appeared briefly in movie theaters. Just about everyone
agreed that it was both politically correct and fatuous to call a
handicapped person "differently abled." In part the attack on p.c. stemmed
from a larger backlash against social changes, particularly in universities.
As late as 1970, the University of Virginia, for example, did not admit any
black students. Over the next two decades, blacks and women entered college
in great numbers, and Afro-American and women's studies programs
proliferated. Meanwhile, many corporations diversified their workforces, and
set up "sensitivity training workshops" to make sure that the process went
smoothly. Critics of political correctness-- Dinesh D'Souza and Roger
Kimball among them--sniped that these changes brought on a culture of

intimidation. They argued that the liberal idea of "diversity" was really a
very narrow one--a diversity of skin colors but not of points of view. And
they tirelessly documented incidents that suggested a climate of politically
correct intolerance had settled over the land. Some of these stories were
arresting, and quickly achieved the status of national folklore; they became
campus legends passed from mouth to mouth and from modem to modem. At the
University of Pennsylvania, a student was investigated for hurling the
insult "water buffaloes." At Antioch </aentries/a/antioch.html> College,
students were instructed to ask for explicit consent at every stage of
sexual foreplay. (In other words, sex was turned into something any college
administrator would love: a negotiated exercise in conflict resolution.) And
at the University of New Hampshire, a Congregationalist minister was accused
of sexual harassment and suspended from his teaching job after he refused to
apologize for the offense. The harassment, in this case, consisted of
telling his students that writing was like sex. In time, his position was
restored. For all their rhetorical savvy, p.c.'s conservative critics were
often brazenly hypocritical. D'Souza, whose best-selling book, Illiberal
Education (1991) excoriated campus thought control, had earlier written an
admiring biography of that great free-thinker the Rev. Jerry Falwell. In a
speech at the University of Michigan, President George Bush warned that a
p.c. "inquisition" was threatening the First Amendment. But Bush's own
allegiance to free speech was far from absolute: among other things, he
supported a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Still, the
anti-p.c. juggernaut rolled on. With mischievous glee, young conservatives
used the phrase indiscriminately to taunt their opponents. It seemed that
anyone who held a strong belief, or a passionate conviction about anything,
could be treated with the charge of political correctness. This was a style
of political argument that suited many young Republicans, who struck the
poses of the educated frat boy--a rollicking (or haughty) superiority
confected out of small portions of Ayn Rand and large doses of P. J.
O'Rourke. Nonetheless, the charges of political correctness often struck
home because the phenomenon they referred to, however clumsily, did exist.
Denied political influence during the Reagan years, left-of-center academics
often turned toward a politics that emphasized cultural identity and group
enfranchisement. The result was an ironic reversal of liberal and radical
aspirations. '60s radicals espoused erotic license; the Antioch rules
imposed new, unenforceable regulations on the bedroom. In the '60s, Berkeley
students started a free speech movement; in the '90s, administrators imposed
speech codes </aentries/s/speechxcod.html>. Traditionally, liberals and
radicals had thought of high culture as a repository of critical thinking
and aesthetic bliss, and had fought to make it available to more people. In
the '90s, cutting-edge Cultural Studies </aentries/c/culturalxs.html>
academics taught that the canon was an instrument of power, and the literary

texts were strategies of control. At times, the radical professoriate
peddled especially unyielding brands of identity politics and
multiculturalism </aentries/m/multicultu.html>. Group membership was taken
as the cornerstone of identity, and group differences were celebrated as the
essence of diversity. But this philosophy had its problems. And it's not
surprising that some people objected to them. Once you start warming to
groups, and group differences, where do you stop? Does every group deserve
preferences of its own? And why is it all right to generalize about groups
if your conclusions are flattering, but not otherwise? Absorbed in these
questions, would-be reformers lost their purchase on reality. Causes that
involved universal ideals and pragmatic compromises--causes like health care
reform and raising the minimum wage--were largely ignored by the academic
left. In the 1994 elections, all of the attacks on political
correctness-both justified and ad hominem-appeared to have their day. Talk
show hosts exulted in the defeat of liberals, and their p.c. allies. As one
Georgia congressman put it, "the politically incorrect working people of
this country rose up ... and voted for change." But the rout of p.c. was
hardly complete. After all, p.c.is not really a partisan phenomenon: speech
codes and didactic art derive from deep-seated aversions to pleasure and
thought, and they are at least as attractive to the right as to the left. It
may be that, in their escalating confidence and zeal, the new conservatives
will only succeed in earning the unflattering epithet "political
correctness"-- or, as some suggest, "patriotic correctness"--for
themselves.-Alexander Star 


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