The society we live in today is filled with carefully placed lines we dare not cross.
Political correctness is supposedly used to protect groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against. What political correctness actually does is cater to a culture that only allows one side to speak their mind.
As a part of the millennial generation, I experience this firsthand.
At a lecture I attended recently at the George Washington University, well-known columnist George Will of the Washington Post explained the current state of U.S. politics to a large group of college students.
He spoke to the group on topics such as the economy, presidential candidates, PC culture and even sports. Specifically, Will explained how the millennial generation is too soft. The exact word used was “snowflakes.” He went on to explain that the young people of America are accustomed to avoiding conflict in hopes of not being offended.
He brought another dimension to the argument: With regard to the First Amendment, the millennials don’t respect it, Will explained. He observes the younger generation only wants to one side of every issue.
The millennials in college are not seeking to challenge pre-existing ideas. But isn’t that what college is all about?
The First Amendment protects the right to freedom of speech, but we are throwing that away.
For example, let’s look at the fast food chain Chick-Fil-A. In 2011 CEO Dan Cathy expressed his views about supporting traditional family values (which he has every right to do, by the way). This was also linked to the company donating large amounts of money to Christian groups. The chain came under major fire after this news broke. Customers swore off the restaurant, saying people shouldn’t eat at an “anti-gay establishment.” Chick-Fil-A is a family-run, private business that can donate to any groups (whether they be Christian or not). They also went on to explain they were not “anti-anybody.”
The backlash the restaurant faced is a prime example of how PC culture ostracizes certain groups of people.
The First Amendment is a sacred liberty and was once respected. People disregard this freedom through the notion that someone having an opposite viewpoint means they are attacking someone’s safety. This notion could not be more false.
I apologize if I am the first to tell you this, but the world is not catered to your happiness and there are countless people who will not agree with you.
Proving Mr. Will right, many of the students listening to the lecture were quite upset with some of the viewpoints he brought up.
You would think a group of ambitious undergrads would leap at the chance to hear words from such an accomplished figure in Washington, but that was not that case. While many students were engaged in the lecture and grateful for the experience, some were not so happy.
The students were specifically upset with his views on society’s push for political correctness, safe spaces and trigger warnings.
Will brought up the example of the classic American novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to prove how much PC culture affects our society. He explained that, because of the vulgar language, the book may be banned from public schools.
When quoting a passage from the novel, uncensored, he offended many of the students in the audience. But Will was making a point. He explained how Mark Twain used “the n word” in the novel to show how powerful it was and how the author was not afraid to take its power away by bringing it up so often. Most students who attended public schools read the novel as a requirement, yet many of those listening were upset when it was mentioned in the lecture.
Was this because they did not understand the point Will was making? Or is it because our society is so accustomed to PC culture that all sense goes out the window when someone hears something offensive?
What my generation lacks is a willingness to listen to the other side. While both Republicans and Democrats suffer from this resistance to converse with the other side, the Left often uses political correctness as an excuse for ignorance.