I often hear comments about all the words now banned for being politically incorrect, either prefaced or followed by a mocking “but I can’t say that now its not politically Correct.” While I do believe in freedom of speech, I do also believe in speaking in a way that is respectful to all, because at the end of the day no one likes being put down, degraded, patronized or belittled, right?
Take the term “disabled” for instance. In referring to a person simply as “disabled” we are defining them purely on their physical limitations, not even classing them as human, the preference would be (after obviously not refering to the disability) is to refer to a PERSON/INDIVIDUAL who has a disability, and highlight the fact that first and foremost the person being discussed IS a PERSON/INDIVIDUAL.
Similarly is the all to common; ‘My gay/christian/Mormon/black/Jewish/white’ friend as if that particular detail is not just a defining factor, but one that demands immediate recognition. Its not that anyone should be ashamed of being gay/christian/mormon/black/Jewish/white, but more so what defining them by these particular attribute before acknowledging them first as a human being says about the way we see them. Surely the things that best defines a person (if any preceding adjectives are to be used) are attributes such as kindness, generosity, compassion, understanding, creativity? I’d love to hear the phrase “My compassionate friend….” more than “my gay/christian/Mormon/black/Jewish/white friend” but yet I never do….
Maybe talking politically correctly won’t change the world, but properly referring to people the right way, acknowledging them respectfully sends out a message, and helps us remember the important details about the people we are addressing, and stops us focusing on the less important details.