One of the features of modern life is the apparent need to be politically correct. Of course, it probably started with good reason—with the idea of not wishing to offend or disadvantage certain groups—but I wonder whether it has all gone a bit too far. After all, we seem to have got to the point where people so pussy-foot around each other, that they are frightened of saying anything.

Which is a problem. Because how can we deal with the issues that are hidden under the umbrella of being politically correct, if we cannot bring them out into the open?

Which is why, to a large extent, I think the whole thing has become a nonsense. And there are so many issues that are currently off the radar. Not least of which, in Australia, are:

Religious Beliefs. The need to accept that most religions are mutually exclusive. Indeed, most religions claim to be the only way for salvation—including Christianity. As a consequence, it is not possible for true believers in one religion to be totally comfortable living side-by-side with believers of another faith.

Ethnic Background. The need to acknowledge that there are inequalities in the way people are treated based on race. Indeed, indigenous people receive some welfare benefits over and above those of non-indigenous people in similar situations. And in the case of some welfare programmes, benefits are payable to those who identify themselves as indigenous regardless of their financial status.

The Disabled. The need to recognise that there are inequalities in the way disabled people are treated. Indeed, the blind receive advantages over and above those who are deaf or otherwise disabled.

Sexual Orientation. The need to recognise that society remains divided on the issue of same-sex relationships. Indeed, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics about 38% of the population voted “No” in a recent survey on Same-Sex Marriage. Which suggests that, legislation or not, it is going to be some time before there will be full acceptance of same-sex relationships in the community.

Now many of the issues in Australia fall under the banner of “positive discrimination.” And yet positive discrimination is a contradiction in terms. If one favours one group, it is always to the detriment of others. Discrimination is still discrimination. It’s just a “nice” way of saying it, to those who are favoured.

Being politically correct, then, may have started as a means to prevent offending or disadvantaging certain groups, but its practice conceals a lot of issues that need to be addressed. All the current practice does, is to ignore the underlying issues, and even maintain and institutionalise existing prejudices.

Now, of course, we should care for people, and we should treat people with dignity. But we shouldn’t pretend that concealing the issues under the banner of being “politically correct” really helps anyone. Because it doesn’t. All it does is hide or exaggerate the many problems that should be out in the open and need to be fixed.

Posted: 2nd March 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis