Does Political Correctness WORK? – 8-Bit Philosophy


Have you ever been pulled over by the PC police? Your fraternity on probation because your
last soiree was border patrol themed? Busted. Do you get accosted at the grocery store for
having “white-girl-dreads?” Pull over. People keep angrily snatching your feather
headdress off at Coachella? Go to jail. Don’t collect two hundred dollars. The PC police have spoken. Are these call outs for cultural insensitivity appropriate or does being politically correct do more harm than good? Opponents of politically correct discourse
argue that substituting harmful words for more fashionable alternatives doesn’t do
much of anything. In the essay “A Critique of Politically Correct Language,” Ben O’Neill argues that politically correct language is pointless
as long as the social stigma still survives. Political correctness, O’Neill contends,
suffers from a cyclical bully problem: new words replace hurtful language, but individuals
remain stuck on a “euphemism treadmill.” “Disabled” becomes “physically challenged”
and then “differently abled.” A “toilet” was itself a euphemism, until
making way for more polite words like “water-closet,” and then those were replaced “restroom,”
and “lavatory.” “Mouth breather” becomes “a person whose breathing may or may not be inhibited by a deviated septum.” The problem is the new vocabulary tends to be taken up by the same individuals with the same intent. In other words, the underlying
harmful intent never changes. Even worse, other thinkers argue that one politically correct action gives people license to future infractions. Researchers have investigated different moral
behaviors and their relation to bigotry and racism. Their paper revolves around the concept of
moral self-licensing. “Moral self-licensing…occurs when past
moral behavior makes people more likely to do potentially immoral things without worrying
about feeling or appearing immoral.” Imagine a moral bank. Each time a person does something they think
is good, they deposit into their moral bank account, and that credit is used in the future
to balance out or absolve harmful actions. In other words, a person might feel like saying the right thing in one instance balances out unethical behaviors elsewhere. If politically correct language is supposed
to suture the wound of harmful speech — to create a form of language separated from the
pain and historical baggage of bigotry — we should ask: is it actually helping? But for advocates of political correctness,
defending it starts with the idea that the words we use profoundly impact people’s
lives. The central force behind political correctness
has to do with philosophy of language. Language is not just descriptive — it shapes
our reality. Certain forms of injurious speech, in their very utterance, create — and in this case that creation is pain. In her book “Words that Wound,” law professor Mari Matsuda explains that hate speech, the moment it’s uttered, is violent — it places the speaker above the addressee, it enacts the violent exclusion of another person. Beyond that, there are material implications
to harmful language — it causes emotional distress, forces people to change jobs or schools, and it creates the isolation that comes with feeling like you’re hated and alone in the world. Researchers have also identified some of the
psychological implications that stereotypical language has on mental capacity. Their various experiments asked women to solve
different math problems after they were made aware of the stereotype that men are better
than women at mathematics. The women who were made aware of the stereotype
did worse than the control group who were not reminded about the stereotype. They found that “Stereotype Threat,” or the awareness of a negative stereotype, hinders working memory capacity. Our brains are subconsciously aware of the
stereotypes that society employs to define us. Stereotype Threat can not only affect women, but people of color in their academic or job performance. Language is how we come to understand the world, and it shapes our perceptions of others. Stereotype Threat seems to reinforce the idea that words have the power to significantly diminish a person’s potential. A choice to censor language, to not replicate potentially harmful stereotypes, may be a totalitarian self-censorship, or it may be a way to avoid
harmful language that has a material impact on others. In the end, the language you use is your choice. Choosing to be PC may or may not change the
way you and others think about the world. So, what do you think, dear viewer? Is political correctness the right path to
fighting prejudice? Or are we all just terribly misguided?

100 thoughts on “Does Political Correctness WORK? – 8-Bit Philosophy

  1. Whether something works or not is not a philosophical subject. It's literally a question of real-world effects. You know, like the sort of thing that could be answered with some studies… This question isn't rhetorical; it has an answer. I'd love to see what the research says as opposed to what a bunch of different people just think about it.

  2. PC language is like seeing someone with a bone sticking out of the leg and going to put a bandage over it because its bleeding, like yeah you should put a bandage on a bleeding wound but that's not realy the problem right now.

  3. I don't get the dichotomy this video ends with. PC language is not a tool to cure someone's prejudice. It is, as the video says, a way to prevent harm to others. So the use of PC language is not for the benefit of the speaker, it's for the listener. The way to address the speaker's issues is education and exposure to facts/people/phenomena that contradicts their uninformed beliefs. If someone wants to improve themselves by reducing their prejudices/hate, then they will want to use PC language because they will realize the hurt they have been causing with their hateful speech. It's not the other way around (in other words, just making someone use PC language won't make them realize they have prejudices and want to fix them). The more important issue is to address the underlying prejudice/hate and PC talk is just the bandaid to help reduce harm in the interim.

    I think some people hope that by making people use PC language, that will actually cause changes in underlying thinking, like the speaker will stop and think "why am I being forced to say African American instead of ni**er? Is it harmful to say ni**er? Why would it be? Where did this expression of African American come from? Why is it deemed more socially acceptable? Does that expression have any of its own issues?" But sadly, if someone had that kind of intellectual curiosity and analytical ability, they probably wouldn't be saying those harmful words to begin with.

  4. I think it destroyed the English language more than it already was. Also I'm almost certain most of the people who call themselves pc don't actually care about what they're 'defending'

  5. I think it's down to the individual

    Some people are more sensitive than others. You've got to get to know the individual person before deciding what language to use.

    And a reasonable person will just tell you if they're offended, if they have/want to form a connection with you. It says more about them if they care how a stranger acts.

  6. with every movement there is a counter movement so by trying to force PCness we are opening ourselves up to a countermovement that gets validity from the movement itself

  7. I think you should put some focus on or at least acknowledge the fact that words only hurt as much as one lets them. Why do you think mindfulness meditation is a thing? Hurting someone’s feelings isn’t violence.

  8. The problem is that we are not able to say what we want. A good example of this is the 'Nazi pug' video where a man in Scotland for a joke to annoy his girlfriend trained her pug to nazi salute. He is now facing up to a year in prison, not because it was his intent to cause offence but because the CPS(Crown Prosecution Service) decided it was his intent.

  9. Why is racism and hate speech even wrong to begin with? None of this matters, so why do people get freaked out over racism, the holocaust, nazis and shit?

  10. So we should just stop talking about the differences, with the intent to equal or to hide them it doesn't matter, obviously simply talking about the differences between race or gender is what causes it to happen

  11. Nothing wrong with being polite, but being polite is a choice… PC culture is enforced by people who live in echo chambers. Honestly the only things you should keep in an echo chamber is your hobbies or the most private of your personal lives. It's not a place where you decide what others should act like.

  12. Holy shit! That was the best and most balanced explanation of PC I’ve ever seen or heard. It addresses the pompous SJWs AND those insensitive jerks who toss around racist crap like it’s a God given right to act like assholes. Thanks!

  13. Get a word out of circulation and replace it with a nicer one and the nicer word soon gets adopted… Give it some time and some other people will decide that its now offensive. A new word comes around thats nicer and the endless cycle repeats. Nasty people will always find new ways to be nasty. Curtailing the speech of others is against free speech.

  14. A lot of comment hate for PC, I prefer to try to be as PC as possible just because using or not using terms that offend people doesn’t affect me, so like might as well choose the path that hurts the least amount of people

  15. Democrats claim your words are "violence" in order to justify their use of actual violence against you. The pesky 2nd amendment stands in their way for now, but that will be crushed eventually and your firearms will be confiscated to make the world "safer"…for these fascistic leftists, not their victims.

  16. well … if you openly disagree whit bigotry, thats makes you a SWJ (whatever that fucking means) so… we should just let tem be assholes? or just say what we thing about douchbags?

  17. I think the problem with non-PC language isn't too many hurtful words and stereotypes, it's not enough hurtful words and stereotypes. The problem is that some people are disproportionately targeted by these. We just need to make sure everyone who's not getting enough in the way of negative stereotypes get their fair share. Then, as these become calcified in the public mind, that's when we'll be able to truly advance forward, having recognized that we're relatively pretty okay since everybody's shit anyway. That's when people will stop thinking in stereotypes. For about maybe a golden decade, after which the whole thing will begin again, but this time, we'll know how to deal with it.

  18. Funny how "stereotype threat" has not hindered men. Only women. Tell a man he can't do something and he'll try harder. Political Correctness is cancer.

  19. It doesn’t help. It’s just different language for the same stereotype as you said. I’m legally blind/artistic and I deal with this every day.

  20. It's trying to stop people from hating each other or being angry at each other, some of our most primal emotions. I'm not saying that excuses racists or whatever, but it affects normal people who just don't really care.

  21. Sterotype threat cannot be fixed by renaming the group being stereotyped, so its a terrible reason to rename the group.

    The way you fix a negative stereotype is making people aware that it is a stereotype, and explaining why it is wrong with reason and research.

  22. damn |I cant be a racist prick in public no more!! fucking SJW's how dare they pose their PC culture on me

  23. Honestly, we should leave the path of PC and get on the path of "giving victims the justice they deserve" I mean, really, punish people for prejudice, not the words they use. That's the solution right there. People love over complicating simple issues, because, I dunno, you're bored.

  24. An interesting look at academic contributions of both sides of the argument, but I'm going to have to side against political correctness; We need to learn again to discuss without taking personal offence, now this isn't to say offence is never intended or never justified; It is for the sake of the issues this language raises, without a platform on which those waving around slurs, insults and sleazy language can state their case, there is also no platform on which their case can be discussed, dismantled and disproved. It is easy to say with hindsight knowledge that certain ideas are bad, but our youth will always rebel as is their nature; and without a means for them to come to conclusions with their own logic, their own research, their own discussions, they are just as likely to follow these ideas as our predecessors and peers. If you tell a youth for their entire life drinking is bad and never allow them to realise it themselves, they will not approach drinking with fear or moderation, they will approach it with a morbid curiosity, and if despite your fear mongering they find themselves enthralled by it, you now have an alcoholic youth who only time and experience can prove wrong. On the flip side, were they to be introduced to alcohol through a social setting, they could witness and discuss its ill effects and learn moderation before experiencing the consequences of lacking it.

    To end on a more relevant note, the cold war has ended, the stigma of even considering communism only relatively recently lifted, yet young generations are flocking to anarchism and communism as ideas because they were never given a platform to be discussed or evaluated in a way that these generations might have heard them. The stronger idea will survive, so anarchism and communism are not looking like striking threats, but still we have dangerously misinformed youths voting for freebies and government seized industries despite the blatant success of privatisation and competitive markets, this is damaging and could have been avoided with free discussion. The same goes for the more recent "correcting" of nationalism and cultural integration, if we allow such political correctness to revoke platforms, time will tell the damage.

  25. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, those with bad ideas expose themselves as such and will be judged accordingly. Language and expression should never be policed.

  26. Yes, it's out of control. Roseanne doesn't deserve to loose a job (and the rest of the crew as well) for calling out a shitty public figure.

  27. 3:30 could it be that they just had more stress to be better than man? There are studies about that too. Every difference could be used for that. I like that a lot better than feelings, for me workflow is everything. You cant deal with us or the stress, dont make excuse, just step down and down damage others progress.

    Remember my word: Seach the right answer for the wrong question (simpsons paradox tried to solfe). Just because a screwdriver cant dig holes dosnt mean it was the shops fault you failed to understand it.

  28. You need to spend time embedded in various groups. You'll discover that classism works better than racism in defining groups you dislike.

  29. I think that the words themselves don’t matter at all, but how the words are used and in what context that defines whether it is “PC”

  30. Nobody light a match, the comments are full of strawmen, and assertions.

    I have to agree with zizek, that changing words is only superficial, and fails to address the underlying problems.
    However, freedom of speech means that someone has the freedom to say something offensive, and someone else has the freedom of speech to call them out on it and tell them to knock it off. Often, what I find when people are arguing for freedom of freedom, they’re only arguing for speech free of opposition.

  31. Moral bank account is the foundation of religion and it's history of mass murder and hatred in the world. just look at manifest destiny. the moral reasoning for whites to commit racial and cultural genocide against the native Americans and the enslavement of Africans. all you white people have to do is to show up at church and confess your sins and go out and commit your atrosity again and again! That's the moral bank account culture idenity of white America!

  32. if someone PC criticizes my choices to say what I please, are they not using "oppressive language ." That would mean they are "putting their self above me." It would mean they are saying that the way that I talk is not as good as the way that they talk. That is really hurtful to my self image.

  33. political correctness is weaponized by the right to use against the left to justify interest of "conservatives" in
    united states today. Southpark claim they're victim as alway avoiding any real serious topic like healthcare for elderly who have no one to take care of them because kids on southpark are just as stupid as adult. just shows red states are a fail state. southpark is allow to be as hateful as they want against any non Caucasian race in name of anti political correctness. being "conservatives" means whites who take pride in Caucasian American history, culture and identity.
    This shows up to attack "liberal" whites defending "minorities" color people's history, culture, and identity.
    This line of separation between white conservative and white liberal war is a cornerstone in weaponized political correctness.
    Keep in mind. Southpark is as conservative and as racist as it gets. the fact is the creators are smart enough to warp a plot line to defend open racism for and by Caucasian male is what is entertaining for young Caucasian Americans.

  34. Being politically correct is fine if it's YOUR choice. If YOU chose to avoid certain language for the well being of another person, that's OK. Again, as long as it's YOUR choice. The problem comes when PC culture starts to force its way onto others. When the PC crowd starts demanding other people act in accordance, that's Orwellian and generally screwed up.

  35. Everyone in the comments seem to think PC is some kind of fascism that will destroy western civilisation. I don't like PC but you're totally overreacting

  36. The problem with a lot of political correctness advocation in todays day and age is that it's all derived from sociological and anthropological observations and theories social.scientists have developed, and they are being widely dispersed amongst the population who then thinks "That makes sense" and decide to then go and spread that same idea as a philosophy. The problem, here, is that a lot of these people don't study these social sciences, jear social scientists and advocates start talking about these phenomena, and start to sort of enforce them, sometimes far too hardcore or blindly, without regard for the ideas of context or being able to actually sit down and explain why the language someone is using is problematic in a way that can properly communicate it with said person. At least, that's my take.

    Otherwise, what's really the problem with not calling people retards and faggots and the N word? The people who insist on that are probably assholes or they have used that language far too casually for too long and its hard for them to kick or.to want to kick, at which point, just ignore em or deal with it, I guess.

  37. I'll go ahead and leave my comment on the subject before even watching the video. Let's see what happens.
    "In it's simplest definition, Political Correctness, isn't a bad thing, although if all you do with it is guilt-tripping people for EVERYTHING they do, than it IS a bad thing."

  38. I just follow that ideas are good, talking about them is also good. If an idea involves infringing on the freedoms and rights of another, that's bad. Try to only do things that would be okay if literally everyone did it and you're alright.

    I do like the whole subject matter of discussion – if the objective of labelling something as 'hate speech' or 'political incorrectness' is to reduce the abusive potential of the ideas presented by them – then addressing the idea directly is always better than to try to hide the idea all together and by infringing on the freedoms of the people you intend to convince – you only wind up becoming the the opposition they wish they had to justify their ideas in the first place.

  39. PC speech is fine to do, but you shouldn't call people out when they say something that isn't PC. An exception to this rule is if you are personally offended by the use of a certain word or phrase, but calling someone out for not being PC on behalf of somebody else is demeaning and insulting to the person or persons you are trying to defend. Essentially you are telling them that they are supposed to be offended by those words and that means they are different from you and everybody else, which is another form of segregation.

    Basically, say whatever you want. If someone calls you a fat ass, call them out for being rude. But if someone says something like "midget" when you do not have the genetic mutation of dwarfism (or one of the other causes of dwarfism), then leave it be. People can stand up for themselves and doing it for them only helps to further put them down.

  40. I believe that political correctness evolved with all good intentions but now we realize it does more damage than good. When people take it upon themselves to be moral police then others only push back harder in order to prove they can say what they want to. The best way to handle it is to just shake our heads at those who insult others, but never tell them what they can and cannot say.

  41. Political correctness puts too many restrictions on WHAT you can say, what PRONOUNS you should use, all that.

    Political correctness= Stalin's ass on weed.

  42. Now old on. It's not totalitarian "or" avoiding "harmful" language. It is, objectively, totalitarian self-censorship. Where it gets muddled is in falsely labeling non-harmful physical responses as harm.

    It's hilarious someone who's written a book on words would base their entire view of language on a misunderstanding of the word "hurt." Mari Matsuda sees the word hurt and falsely calls anything that hurts violence, ignoring the fact that violence requires physical force while something like "hurting" your chances of winning a game does not.
    Ironically, in doing so she's advocating for actually physically harming people by putting them in incarceration for "hurting" someone's feelings.

  43. Not using hate speech is different than being politically correct. The big issue with political correctness is the insincerity of it. It just makes people feel good for 'not being racist' but really all it shows is that you don't want to be perceived as racist. Stereotypes are the more harmful thing, and people who are politically correct often still believe in those at some level.

  44. I think and interesting thought is when groups use a word ironically. For example, a group of teens saying the hard R N word as satire, while being fully aware of the words implications and history. Does using certain language satirically, have a unintended subconscious ramification?

  45. Political correctness is like putting a band aid over the fractured bone that is bigotry. It does nothing to solve the problem.
    Words do have an impact, but the reason PC doesn't work it's because words' meanings change based on how they're used by the speakers. The word silly used to represent something happy in the past, but now it represents ridiculousness. In the same way, if someone manages to convince a great amount of people to use a word or sentence in a negative way and it spreads into the majority of the language's speakers, even if it's previous meaning was positive it won't matter because the current meaning is negative. So in the end, no matter how politically correct a term becomes, in the end bigots will always end up twisting their meaning without changing their minds.

    Bigotry will only end when all people are taught from an early age that bigotry isn't only something bad for society, but is in itself something so stupid and ridiculous, not to mention self-destructive, that it shouldn't have ever existed in the first place. And I know this is cliche, and has many flaws like "how do you make sure this happens in mass?" or "how do you make sure people who grew up non-bigots don't get infected by older bigots and become rotten?" but I firmly believe that practicing this is more effective than being "politically correct".

  46. Just so you know having a monocle was one of the first things to get the PC treatment. It was seen by many as the nazi ideal of being much richer and even smarter than you. If you look at pre 2nd world war photos of said nazi party commanders they loved their monocles. They always pictured the Jew as having spectacles on a big nose. So it wasn't surprising that the table was turned against the monocle during the 2nd world war, and quickly faded out of fashion like the toothbrush moustache by the end of it. http://militaryanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/09/monocle-i.html
    Words don't offend people it's the way they're said that does. A problem as old as time, if you let a word upset you it will.

  47. I try to be PC. If someone tells me my language is offensive I try to change it. It’s just to make people around me more comfortable. To that extent I think pc language is important

  48. Allowing bigots the freedom of speech to out themselves as such may be useful in the short term but 'freedom of speech' is not 'freedom from consequence'. Speech doesn't exist devoid of social context. If I say, or anonymously post on a social media platform, something prejudiced against a particular social group it in no way infringes upon my freedom of speech for someone else to challenge the prejudice of my statement.

  49. 3:20 That makes no sense. Who solves math from memory? The experiment may indicate that lower confidence levels negatively impacts test scores, but it seems silly to make the jump to say that it impacts memory when we use logic to solve math problems.

  50. Speech is the only non violent means of bringing about change, it does so by persuasion. And so those who would curtail free speech make violence all but inevitable. They leave no peaceful alternative.

  51. Saying what we truly want to fucking say is so much more damn satisfying then keeping it bottled up in our ape-cage. As you can see my statement might have been a bit shocking to some but isn’t it far more refreshing to hear someone speak their mind than hide behind false idioms. Facing criticism and being bullied actually makes us stronger as individuals and readies us for the challenges of the real world. How can an individual who can’t even handle words be expected to handle life after all?

  52. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

    Realize what is and isnt in your control, and maybe you wont be a PC b$#&$%.

  53. Unlikely that the vast majority of people will think of the affects of their words and actions on others before they think of the impact on themselves.

  54. Theres being rude, and theres trying to be specific, some stereotypes are rather spot on, and some are just plain stupid, being PC dosent need to a thing, but rather just an awareness of not being a jackass.

  55. We are all terribly misguided. People like Mao Zedong, Mussolini, Stalin, Adolf Hitler, don't rise to power in a word where its people have a reasonable sense of direction. Stop to consider your actions and who you affect by taking those actions.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was by no means a perfect human being, and even in his words used language that alienated some. But his most commonly recited quote is by-the-by the best quote for the common man to think of; Just not a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. One of the reasons I love the internet is it provides a smokescreen for one and all. Here you are not gay, straight, white, black, oriental, Christian, Muslim; You are whoever you choose to be. The internet is the purest expression of character. Maybe one day, you will all understand that in all its meaning.

  56. Its like in overwatch when you type "gg ez" in the chat, the game converts is into a polite sentence. In the end everybody knows those "polite sentences" are fake. But sure lets just cover things up with more onion layers cus that will change something. You know what I don't get? Why these free-speech-haters don't go the full mile and just advocate that nobody is allowed to communicate anymore and make everyone mute? Why stop at censoring stereotypes or mean comments? Hypocrisy much?

  57. Political correctness is basically a form of anti-free speech fascism.
    Also, no, words can't harm anything. IT IS YOU and your PUSSY WEAK MIND that can't handle such words. Thats why children need strong capable parents to teach them how to deal with realities of the world and not let them run amuck like spoiled littles fucks, and when they grow up they get offended and stress out over little insignificant things.
    Try living in the slums of a third world country you pieces of shit.

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