Why Politically Correct Culture Is Saving America


Sarah Gorton, Contributor

America, supposedly, is the melting pot of ideas. However in this racially and culturally diverse country, very few perspectives seem to be truly “melting” with one another. Within recent years the political divide has grown, partially due to the developing debate concerning politically correct (PC) culture.

One of the largest communities facing backlash for lack of political correctness is the comedic community. Audiences have started holding comedians accountable for politically incorrect jokes, condemning the shameful side of comedy and creating a standard that holds all accountable. Whether one agrees with the idea of PC culture or not, understanding the movement’s original intent is crucial.

The term “politically correct” is used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. The history of holding ideologies that purposefully harm various groups has been a direct product of racism and sexism.

PC culture has enacted massive reforms throughout institutions across the nation, including the workplace and schools. Those who once were forced to put up with sexist remarks, harassment, racism, and discrimination, are now given a voice because of this movement.

The comedic community which was once unrestrained, has now been put on close watch by many Americans. Comedy is intended to make people laugh, with the ultimate goal of bringing us together. However, the opposite can be argued when looking at the comedy being used as recently as two decades ago, and in many cases, today.

In a time where political correctness was the least of comedians worries, jokes may have been causing laughter, however, the marginalization as a direct result was massive. Jokes that were being thrown around about discrimination or sexism taught those whom had real experiences that their experiences were not serious, simply a joke. And those listening were taught to see it as a joke, rather than serious, teaching them it was acceptable to do it again.

In an editorial on SRHS Off the Leash, the authors reference the joke stated by Norm Macdonald, “Two businessmen bought the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million. They are very excited with their purchase, as this is the only legal way to own black people.” The authors Jake Salomon and Daniel Rohr of this article who happen to be two white SRHS seniors claim that, “From my personal understanding of this issue, the majority of jokes that are perceived as offensive do not actually offend the minority they are about.”

But the people who often laugh are not the butt of the joke. A biracial student at SRHS who has struggled with racist jokes during her classes before read this joke and later reacted, saying, “This joke is disgusting and makes me feel uncomfortable.” While a joke might not always visibly hurt someone, living in America under the constant attack from people with power has an impact. “I know they’re just joking, but…” is the phrase spoken by many students around SRHS.

Most politically incorrect jokes continually target minority groups. This reinforcement of oppression in recent years became more evident, eventually leading to this movement of political correctness. While the problem is far from solved, the pressure that PC culture places on comedians influences them to think about the language they use and the effect it has on their entire audience.

One can view this PC takeover within comedy as unnecessary or an overreaction, however the claim that it is an infringement on one’s freedom of speech is entirely incorrect. The First Amendment clearly prevents Congress from making laws restricting freedoms to speech, thus, protecting the people’s ability to show disapproval.

It is strange that people are complaining about a movement that is working to prevent the constant downpour of hate on minorities. No one is calling for laws to be put in place that restrict one’s right to free speech. There is simply a calling for change within society.

At the end of the day, you can say anything  as long as it isn’t considered dangerous speech, the government will not come after you. Frankly, if you are upset that you may face backlash from your audience for making an insensitive comment, that is the point of the politically correct movement. If you stand by your belief that it is fun and games to make fun of minorities, then you can pay the social consequences. Humor should not have come from the mockery of those who have been disempowered by others.