Talk:Political correctness/Archive 8

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Political Correctness is unique to the Left

Contrary to what this article says Political Correctness specifically referes to the effort to restrict words and ideas that are disapproved of by Leftist ideology from the public arena. This effort is most strongly practiced by academic institutions and in government, but now has entered every segment of American society.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:26 (UTC), 14 February 2007.

There's no question that people on the political Right also seek to restrict words and ideas that they disapprove of. There are many words and ideas that might appeal to a person holding extreme left-wing views that would not be tolerated in the workplace or on television. If these do not count as "politically correct" then by what term does one refer to them? Furthermore, it's typically considered inappropriate to refer to flight attendants as "stewards" or "stewardesses," to name just one type of job name that has changed; there is no inherent liberal or conservative bias to some of those changes, but they are included under the umbrella of "political correctness." It's more accurate to say political correctness grew out of a desire for social progress that came predominantly from the political Left; and PC is still largely identified with liberal and progressive thinking.

I was hoping for a date for the use of the term. I claim to be the first to use the term "politically correct" in public prints in Canada about 1991-92 when I used it in a Suburban (Montreal) newspaper column about the content of Radio Canada International. I copied the term from Alan Bloom's book "The Closing of the American Mind," whence I appropriated it and where I believe it originated. I have done a web trawl to see if its useage predates Bloom's 1988 edition. While I have discovered that the term was precisely used by a US court in the late 18th century, it was used to describe something other than that which we take the term today. I have also read references to post-WWII British leftists using it to deride each others' doctrinaire viewpoints and it appeared to be used in a way we would understand the term today. But I have only read references to such an origin and no citation of its actual use. Perhaps someone knows something...

Christy McCormick, Hong Kong

I d

Term comes from the comic pages

At least the modern popular usage of this term comes from a 1980s comic strip known as Bloom County.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:26, 14 (UTC) February 2007.

Academic Origin of Political Correctness

The origin of the Political Correctness ideology comes from the work of a group of German Marxist Social Scientist philosophers in the 1930s who became known as the Frankfurt School. Their philosophy came to be called "Cultural Marxism" and also "Critical Theory". During WWII they fled Germany and many of them became involved in the academic world of America. During the 1960s these ideas were popularized and by the 1970s you start seeing this movement filter into the general society.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:36 (UTC), 14 February 2007.


Actor is politically correct when applied to female actors? This is interesting. I thought the term was usually gender neutral, it seems to be in British theatre, with "actress" reserved for especially revered or distinguished female actors usually from previous generations. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by JamesTheNumberless (talkcontribs) 16:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC).

I've deleted a rant about political correctness here. Please remember that the purpose of the discussion page is to discuss the article and how to improve it. It is not a venue for you to present your own thoughts about the topic.JQ (talk) 22:13, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I've noticed something

Lately there has been much Criticism of Political correctness by Conservatives. Maybe someone should add this to the article. 08:26, 13 January 2007 (UTC) Lately?--Jack Upland 10:07, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


You haven't been paying attention to the evolution of this entry if you honestly think that, User: according to a good many of those who weigh in regularly on this topic here, "political correctness" doesn't even exist, period.

They repair to this page on a steady basis to assure us that it is all a figment of our collective imaginations - even while they revert, delete, erase, and otherwise do everything in their collective power to eliminate the slightest demonstrated proof that there might, even faintly, be something to the notion.

Indeed, I'm suprised they haven't nominated the entire subject for deletion, seeing as how it's just a phony "construct" of the "Reactionary Right," according to their consensus...

As amusing, in a sense, as your entry is, User:, I nevertheless say please try again with something a tad more original and a bit less obvious.

Thanks! Carthago delenda est 07:04, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Oh? By this article's own admission, PC is a Marxist term, (though the name of Georg Lukasz (NOT the star Wars creator ) are not mentioned) created by the so-called Frankfurt School. It's not a conservative creation - and it is a dangerous, pro-porn movement wielded by Leftist elements under the guise of human liberty. See below. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:04, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

There is no definition??

History sits as a heading. There is no definition, perhaps we could have 2 definitions in the interest of balance.

After history there is very little other than a quite negative debate or the dispute, it would be like putting up the Vietnam War with what happened in one paragraph and then 7 paragraphs on what was wrong with the war...

The civil rights movement and the principles of equality need to be cited as a source.

Including Martin Luther King's Speech title

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. " —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:51, 22 January 2007 (UTC).

Citation in the argument for:

It was argued, largely from within the continental school of philospophy that language and discourse has teh ability to create truth. The actual truth may not be proven but a position passes into knowledge through its passing among others.

This argument is discussed extensively by Foucault. [1]

Was PC an attempt to reduce harm to people through language?

An obvious rebuttal of political correctness

I removed this comment from the opening paragraph:

An obvious rebuttal of political correctness, of course, is the fact that some people are offended by political correctness itself.

It's not obvious to me how the fact that some people are offended by PC is a rebuttal of PC. Could you please clarify? MoodyGroove 19:27, 3 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

The paragraph I added it to says, "In broader terms, political correctness refers to the implied or perceived expectation that it is improper to offend a minority or special interest group." It's well known that there are people who take offence at political correctness itself. So, according to this notion of political correctness, political correctness is itself "improper". It's simple, really. Just a simple matter of applying political correctness to itself, and finding that it's self-invalidating. I would have thought that to miss this self-contradicting nature of political correctness would be to miss the obvious. Hope that clarifies it sufficiently :-) Simon G Best 19:52, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Please don't add this sort of original reseatch to Wikipedia. After all, one could just as easily flip it around, and make the point that there is an "obvious rebuttal" to criticism of PC, which is that people who attack others for promoting a culturally inclusive way of speaking are thus themselves trying to stifle that kind of dialogue. But I am not adding this sort of self-created argument to the article, and neither should you. Andrew Levine 20:12, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, Andrew Levine. I can't support this comment in the opening paragraphs. In the first place, I don't think the position that PC is "self invading" is self evident or obvious. It reads like an attempt to be clever or quarrelsome, which will only increase the level of controversy in the article and on the talk page. In addition, people who are offended by PC cannot be identified as a historically oppressed minority or special interest group. Are there really people who become offended when someone is called "exceptional" or "physically challenged" instead of "handicapped" or "retarded"? They might look at things differently if they had a child with Down syndrome. Regardless, political correctness isn't an argument that needs to be refuted. It's a concept that needs to be described, as this is an encyclopedia. MoodyGroove 20:20, 3 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
No, it wasn't supposed to be "clever or quarrelsome". It just seemed the right place to mention that simple (and to me familiar) reductio ad absurdum, as it was then right after that sentence that says, "Hence, it is a mild form of persecution."
Again, I fail to see your point. Stigmatizing speech that is hurtful to another person is a form of mild persecution that serves a noble purpose. What is the point of your alleged reductio ad absurum if not to be clever or quarrelsome? I think it's a bit silly, and just argumentative to suggest that someone who doesn't like politically correct speech is a victim of unfortunate circumstance the same way a child with Down syndrome is. I have no problem with certain forms of political correctness, and I assume that the vast majority of the planet acknowledges that certain forms of speech should be stigmatized in the public discourse. MoodyGroove 01:20, 4 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
Equating political correctness with "politically correct" language is a mistake. Equating opposition to political correctness with opposition to "politically correct" language is also wrong, prejudiced and offensive. Simon G Best 15:09, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I would respectfully ask you to back that up. Educate me. What is the difference between using politically correct speech and political correctness? As far as your labeling me "prejudiced" that is ad hominem. Whether or not you take offense is well outside of my span of control. I'm trying to help write an article for the Wikipedia. My goal isn't to argue with you. Why not try to assume good faith? MoodyGroove 18:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
Oh, come on! Of course there's more to political correctness than just the use of "politically correct" language. You yourself have said that it's "a form of mild persecution that serves a noble purpose" - that's more than it just being certain kinds of language. The term "political correctness" doesn't just refer to "politically correct" language, but also to certain kinds of motives and attitudes behind it. Don't pretend otherwise. Simon G Best 13:02, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I did write that. I'm not pretending otherwise. I already know what I think political correctness is. I'm trying to use the Socratic method to figure out what you think it is (other than offensive and self invading). MoodyGroove 13:42, 5 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
As for your statement that "people who are offended by PC cannot be identified as a historically oppressed minority or special interest group", my understanding is that just such a statement is perceived (at least rhetorically) as identifying a "special interest group" consisting of those who don't belong to recognised "special interest groups" - the minority who don't belong to eligible minorities. There are some who do, genuinely take offence at - as they perceive it - being omitted from the 'protections' of political correctness, feeling (or at least claiming to feel) discriminated against, even regarding such political correctness being "a mild form of persecution" accordingly.
So again, you are saying this theoretical group of people, united in their unqualified disdain for political correctness, should be sheltered from political correctness, because it would be politically incorrect not to do so? Of course you are being clever and argumentative. It is disingenuous to deny it. The only grain of truth I can find in your position is similar to the one I outlined elsewhere on this talk page. Where was the public outrage when the Brooklyn Museum of Art used funds from the NEA to sponsor an art exhibit that showed a painting of the Virgin Mary smeared in cow dung? Now that's a legitimate argument. Yes, you can observe some double standards when it comes to political correctness, and it's perfectly okay to point that out when describing political correctness. But your alleged reductio ad absurdum, rather than being a demonstration of a classical fallacy, is pure sophistry. Again, political correctness isn't an argument to be refuted. It's a concept or phenomenon that needs to be described, as the Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. If you want to compose a criticism of political correctness, go right ahead. Just back it up with some legitimate references. MoodyGroove 01:20, 4 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
It's not sophistry to point out that not everyone belongs to an eligible group or minority. It's just obvious. It's not sophistry to point out that if greater weight is given to the views of those who are in such groups, correspondingly less weight is given to the views of those who aren't in such groups. Again, it's just obvious - you can't give greater weight to the views of some at the same time as giving equal weight to the views of others. It's not sophistry to state the fact that some people object to such (perceived) discrimination, and do so in the way I said in my bold little addition to the article. Simon G Best 15:09, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with that criticism of political correctness. But that's not what you said before. You've changed your argument for the better. And that's exactly why we have talk pages. MoodyGroove 18:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
As for mentions of disability, and the like, would kyphosis do? While the possibility of surgery was mentioned, I ended up wearing a brace. At the age of fourteen. It was like a rigid, plastic corset, and it appeared to give me an odd kind of bust. Yes, I was a fourteen-year-old teenage boy wearing a plastic corset to school every day. But the idea that this should somehow give extra weight to what I might say about political correctness actually does offend some people - me included! (Once I've had Asperger's Syndrome, or whatever it actually is, properly diagnosed, I'll be able to use that to counter attempts at playing the disability card, too.) Oh, and I was also called "Hunchy" - so there!
 :-) Simon G Best 23:52, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, Hunchy. I will have you know that I would be very upset at the injustice if someone were to deny you equal participation in society because of your kyphosis. I pointed out that someone might view political correctness differently if they had a child with Down syndrome. You replied that "the idea that [a disability] should somehow give extra weight to what [someone with a disability] might say about political correctness actually offends some people (yourself included). May I please know where I said that the arguments of someone whose child has Down syndrome should be given "extra weight"? What I said was, if someone had a child with Down syndrome, they might view the situation differently. Why? Because they would have a very personal relationship with someone who was incredibly innocent, and disadvantaged. It's one thing to make fun of retards when you don't know any. It's another thing to be a parent of someone who is developmentally challenged. You're welcome to think you're in the same league because of your kyphosis, and to be honest, I have no idea how much you suffered. But your position here isn't showing much compassion. The point is, not all political correctness is bad. Can we attempt to develop a consensus? Because this talk page is a disgrace to the Wikipedia. MoodyGroove 01:20, 4 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
You're making the mistake of equating opposition to political correctness itself with opposition to all and any language that would be considered politically correct, etc. And you speak of "consensus" when you seem to be seeing it in a very black-and-white, all-or-nothing way. It's a good example of the kind of prejudice that some people do find so offensive. Simon G Best 15:09, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I do not view the world in black and white, and I am the furthest thing from an "all or nothing" person you will ever meet in your lifetime. Please demonstrate your claim by referencing something I've said in this discussion that seems unreasonable to you. On the contrary, you are the one making sweeping generalizations about political correctness, and your theoretical special interest group that feels so offended by it. All I did was point out that sometimes, political correctness isn't a bad thing. Since you feel so offended by me when I point this out, perhaps you could enlighten all of us by explaining the distinction between politically correct speech and political correctness. Or would you rather just label me and tell me that I'm offending you? I personally would prefer some substantive conversation, and yes, attempt to develop a consensus. That's actually why I'm investing my valuabe time on this talk page. I'm trying to help write an encyclopedia. MoodyGroove 18:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
You clearly took my statement that some people are offended by political correctness to mean that they're offended by the mere use of language that's considered politically correct - "Are there really people who become offended when someone is called "exceptional" or "physically challenged" instead of "handicapped" or "retarded"?" (Actually, there are, as some people regard such terms as patronising, and so not much better than the terms they're supposed to replace, but that's beside the (immediate) point.) What you did was to put up a blatant straw man, and yet you describe me as argumentative!
I'm not trying to win an argument with you. I'm trying to draw out the relevant differences between our positions so I can improve my own position. That's the only way I know how to build consensus on a contentious issue and improve my skills as an editor. You voiced unqualified disdain for political correctness. What you're calling a straw man was nothing more than my attempt to present one type of political correctness you would not find objectionable so that you would moderate your viewpoint in a manner that would add something to the article besides discontent. MoodyGroove 13:42, 5 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
The "all-or-nothing" thing was the idea that if someone's offended by political correctness (which isn't merely "politically correct" language), then it must be that they're also offended by that which political correctness regards as politically correct. But that idea's just plainly incorrect. Simon G Best 13:02, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Fine. But it's certainly politically correct to use politically correct language. Isn't that right? So politically correct language is a necessary but insufficient part of political correctness. And if I'm reading you correctly, you see some value in using politically correct language in certain circumstances. Will you also join me in agreeing that certain types of speech should be stigmatized in the public discourse? Please don't disagree with that assertion for the sake of continuing a contentious debate. If you're willing to concede that certain types of speech should invoke public disesteem (because it's deserved) then what we're talking about is a matter of degree, or the manner in which the public becomes sensitized.MoodyGroove 13:42, 5 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
Original research? I've been aware of it for, oh, over a decade. (As for your flipping it around, I don't see how that works, how it's actually a flipping of it around (though I certainly recognise it as a familiar response). Wouldn't it need to be a reductio ad absurdum for it to be a flipping around, as the thing being flipped around is a reductio ad absurdum to begin with?... But anyway.) Simon G Best 23:52, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Request to remove tags

As many of you now know my recent grandfather was a spanish lap dancer, he died in 1999, and it saddens me to lose his company.

I would like to remove the POV and Worldwide view tags on this article. I have made substantial changes, provided numerous reference, deleted many unreferenced or confusing sentences, and it seems to me that both sides of the issue are represented. So please, if you are the one who tagged this article (or agree with the fact that it is tagged) please respond and explain exactly what the problem is so that it can be fixed and a consensus can be reached. Otherwise, the tags will be removed. Remember, please be specific about what the problem is, and I would appreciate it very much if we could stay on topic and not digress into systematic generalizations of any kind. These tags are intended to be temporary. MoodyGroove 23:28, 6 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

The intro still reads to me like an expository essay in support of a particular argument, e.g. describing PC as a "mild form of persecution". Citing sources for one's opinions does not stop them from being opinions. Lfh 08:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I personally think the word "mild" vitiates the sentence (especially since PC is intended to serve the noble purpose of empowerment) but I have no objection to moving that down under arguments against PC (although I'm not certain it's an argument against PC per se). I believe it's a philosophical comment about PC (much the same way a philosopher might say that "the city stands or falls by violence." I think the best pro-PC argument is the description under linguistics (i.e., bringing peoples' unconscious biases into awareness so they can select their language more carefully). What if I were to lay out the problem of PC in the intro? (By problem I mean the difficulty). I think presenting it as a tension between sensitivity and censorship is the way to go. Would you agree that's a NPOV way to lay out the controversy? MoodyGroove 15:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
How about something like this:
Political correctness (also sexually active behaviour or PC) is a controversial concept that can be described variously as the language or behavior that provides a minimum of offense to minorities or special interest groups, a way to bring peoples' unconscious biases to their attention, a mild form of persecution that creates a tension between sensitivity and censorship, to a form of Orwellian mind control that limits freedom of speech, particularly on college campuses. Some on the right have called it the "scourge of our times" and accuse the left of using political correctness as a form of coercive social engineering. Some on the left question its very existence and accuse the right of turning political correctness into a type of straw man argument to avoid substantive discussions about gender, race, rights, or equality.
Then we can divide the article into sections and let everyone support their POV in the body of the article. Do you think that would make the article more fair and balanced? MoodyGroove 16:26, 9 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
That seems pretty fair. My objection was not that the article describes critical views of PC, only that it seemed to advocate them too. "Persecution" is a strong word and after a certain point, qualifying nouns like that with adjectives like "mild" doesn't dilute them, it just creates odd-sounding phrases. Furthermore the entire intro seemed to be structured like an essay, which is rarely a good way to accomplish NPOV. Would we accept "the city stands or falls by violence" as a descriptive, NPOV statement in the city article? The intro itself should merely note that philosophical arguments against PC (or at least not entirely supportive of it) exist, and these should be described in more detail in the main article.Lfh 16:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I wrote it, so it doesn't sound odd to me! LOL! :) But I do understand your point here. Keep in mind, we might not accept "the city stands or falls by violence" in the intro to the city article, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. It's possible that our opposition the comment simply demonstrates the incompatability between the city and philosophy (and we all know what happened to Socrates). What makes a philosophical view of PC less valid than, say, a practical view or political view (whatever those things might mean)? If we're listing the various views, doesn't philosophy deserve a seat at the table? Especially if philosophy might hold the key to the correct view? After all, it's in the spirit of Socrates that we ask "What is political correctness?" The truth (whatever it is) transcends POV. MoodyGroove 17:08, 9 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

On a side note, is there any reason to include "politically correct" as a synonym for political correctness? Isn't it just the adjectival form, or is there a more subtle difference? Lfh 16:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I see no substantive difference. MoodyGroove 19:47, 10 February 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

In wikipedia

I am for opening a section regarding PC in wikipedia. I have in mind the guideline on terrorism, which prevents from qualifying a terrorist movement as such, only can be done indirectly such as in "X is included as a terrorist movement in the US. State Departmen relevant watchlist".

Prior to opening the section, please provide some imput on the question, specially opening it to new wikisituations you may know.

Mountolive 19:23, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you that PC in Wikipedia is a problem; however, you can't really create a section on it in this article, as it would constitute original research. What I suggest you do is write a Wikipedia essay with a title such as Wikipedia:Political correctness. Just add the {{essay}} tag to the top of it, and you can write what you want. Walton monarchist89 19:26, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Wow, I am no expert in logic but that sounds like some sort of evil circular reasoning or self fulfilling prophecy or the like. I know you don't support them, but isn't this some sort of self censorship to have to write an "essay" instead just make a brief note in the article?
I still think that the section is needed, even in the weasel words (one more..) "some think..." Mountolive 20:56, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Avoid self-references#Writing about Wikipedia itself. The language conventions of Wikipedia are not relevant enough to mention in the article. Andrew Levine 21:40, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure as to whether the guideline you are mentioning applies, it sounds to me like this is included as an exception to the rule on the grounds of being illustrative to the subject (PC). But even if it was (not so sure) one thing is clear: there seems to be some a thin line of self censorship in the guidelines and the mechanisms to avoid them are forbidden as well... Mountolive 21:45, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not a workable exception because Wikipedia itself is not an "example" of PC. The exception shown mentions "encyclopedia" and "online community" as things Wikipedia itself is an example of. And yes, we have guidelines for what articles can and can't say. Every major media source, and every reference book, has its own style guides that dictate everything from where you put a comma after a quotation to how to spell Hannukah to whether such-and-such an organization can be qualified as "terrorist". Wikipedia is nothing special in this regard. Andrew Levine 21:50, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Non sequitur; I am not saying that all other media sources have their own rules, nor I am saying that wikipedia shouldn't have their own. I am only suggesting that the fact that PC also reaches wikipedia should be noted in this article. Mountolive 21:57, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not a workable exception because Wikipedia itself is not an "example" of PC. The exception shown mentions "encyclopedia" and "online community" as things Wikipedia itself is an example of. <--- not a non sequitur. Andrew Levine 22:54, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
If you read twice the above you will notice that I am not talking about the exception anymore. Mountolive 23:31, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
I've read it four times and I can't see on what grounds you think WP:SELF does not apply. Andrew Levine 23:36, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
You may want to read for a fifth time the part I am stressing. Also the one saying that "I am not talking about the exception anymore". I guess I tend to downplay as formalisms those guidelines you stress. Another story would be if you don't want to talk about that and we are playing here See No Evil, Hear No Evil :D Mountolive 00:09, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
WP:SELF is not a mere formalism that can be ignored. Your suggestion for adding "PC on Wikipedia" to the article is against our Manual of Style. That should be clear enough. Andrew Levine 01:21, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

So far people is against the proposal I'm making. I'm waiting for a few more comments. Obviously if people is not for it, I will dismiss my own idea. A sketch of my reasoning is above, please assess it. Mountolive 04:34, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Friedrich Kellner

In Germany in 1941, my grandfather, Friedrich Kellner a chief justice inspector, and the author of an anti-Nazi diary, wrote this passage (here is the translated version):

June 19, 1941: If one looks over the present conditions, a feeling of dread comes to the thinking person; since 1933 the great majority have been all for the Fuhrer, the university professors, with sack and pack underwrote the new political correctness and shoved everything to the side for which they earlier stood up for and taught. They all laid down their own wills and their own thoughts, and glorified in a cringing characterless way everything the Party had written down. What should a simple man say of these learned and wise scholars, who no longer give expression to their best knowledge? What would the entire world think about those who allow Nazi politics to corrode German knowledge?

I was thinking of placing this extraordinary text in your article on political correctness, but I did not wish to intrude on the work you all have been doing -- and I especially did not wish to create any controversy. If you feel this passage would be of some use in the article, please do let me know and I will insert it, or any of you might insert it. Thank you, Scott --Rskellner 20:04, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Could you post the original German text here on the talk page? In particular, did your grandfather actually use the modern phrase "Politische Korrektheit" in the first sentence? If so, then that truly is remarkable and definitely worth mentioning in the etymology section. If not, it is difficult to judge the relevance of the comment without knowing the original text. Thanks. Andrew Levine 01:30, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I can post the original German. Here it is. The typical way of expressing "political correctness" in German is more like "politischen Richtigkeit." But Friedrich Kellner uses the phrase "politischen Richtung." Translated literally, this means "political direction," but in the context in which he has placed this phrase (please re-read the above translation of this passage), it can equally be read as "political directions" or "political correctness."

Wenn man die heutigen Verhältnisse überblickt kommt, einem ein Gefühl der Wehmut bei dem Gedanken, daß seit 1933 die große Mehrzahl aller geistigen Führer voran die Hochschulprofessoren, mit Sack und Pack sich der neuen politischen Richtung verschrieben und alles beiseite schoben für das sie früher eintreten und lehrten. Fast alle legten ihren eigenes Willen, ihr eigenis Denken ab und verherrlichten in hündischer charakterloser Weise das was ihnen von der Partei vergeschrieben worden ist. Was soll ein einfacher Mensch von Gelehrten und Wissenschaftlern sagen die nicht mehr wagen, ihrene besseren Wissen Ausdruck zu geben? Was wird die übrige Welt über die von der Nazi Politik zerfressene deutsche Wissenschaft denken?

As I said, I don't wish to stir up a controversy. I will leave it up to others to decide. Scott--Rskellner 04:32, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestion, Scott. It looks like by "der neuen politischen Richtung" your grandfather was talking more about political currents, i.e. sweeping trends in political thought among the professors, rather than the sort of "political correctness" talked about in the article, which is primarily a linguistic phenomenon where individual words/phrases are replaced by counterparts perceived as less injurious or offensive. So I would say, in my own opinion, that the quote probably does not fall under the scope of this article. Andrew Levine 05:21, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate the detailed response. I tend to agree with you, and I will alter my translation. Thank you for the follow-up. Scott--Rskellner 05:48, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


This is a contentious article, and the insertion of a massive right-wing POV essay near the top hardly qualifies as the type of constructive compromise that many of us across the political spectrum have strived to achieve over many months. Much of the material remains, moved lower, and properly noted as a right-wing criticsm. The essay on power has been truncated.--Cberlet 13:05, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

When you label my edits a "massive right-wing POV essay" you commit a classical fallacy. It's the argument ad hominem, abusive. It contributes nothing to the talk page, and it certainly does nothing to persuade me that you're the compromiser you claim to be. Are you so far above me that my efforts to help write this article don't merit thoughtful discussion? MoodyGroove 18:26, 21 April 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
Just to clarify, ad hominem means attacking the person not the argument. Cberlet criticised the argument and didn't mention who had written it. JQ 22:16, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Labelism is the simplest form of the argument ad hominem. Labeling it a massive right wing POV essay attempts to marginalize the argument based on the alleged political orientation of the author. There was no discussion of what made it a "massive right wing POV essay". It's name calling, and it's no different than if I had said the current version reads like it was written by a flaming liberal. MoodyGroove 00:43, 22 April 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

Is there an actual quote or page cite for this contention? It seems dubious to me, but someone may have claimed it as true in a published work. Otherwise is is WP:OR.

Progressive or left-wing supporters of the view that words should be chosen to minimise offense normally use such phrases as inclusive language, while conservative or right-wing supporters of this view call for civility.

Comments?--Cberlet 23:26, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

The point that civility is a rightwing form of political correctness is cited to Mark Latham later in the article. As regards inclusive language and political correctness, a Google search on the two terms produces dozens of examples equating them. It's just a question of picking the most appropriate. JQ 05:15, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
The first example from Latham can be cited, but the second would be original research. The issue here is the unsupported claim that leftists "normally use such phrases as 'inclusive language.'" How do we know who uses the phrase 'inclusive language'? Does Latham say that? If not, then there is a problem.--Cberlet 12:56, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
If you go to inclusive language, you'll see the article begins "Gender-neutral language (also called gender-inclusive language, non-sexist language, sex-neutral language or politically-correct language)". I've linked a couple of examples, but I think this is the kind of topic where insisting on a rigid view of OR is going to be a problem. It's easy to find examples of leftwingers using the term "inclusive language" favorably, and of rightwingers criticising it as PC, and vice versa for civility, but there's not much published research to rely on. I've added the text back with some links, but I'm sure better ones could be found. JQ 03:29, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
The issue here is that you have cited two opinionated POV partisan websites that provide no serious reference to scholarly or major media published work. This is simply not sufficient for such a contentious page. It is essentially marginal references compiled as original research. I really don't see how this material can be justified.--Cberlet 04:16, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Let me turn this around. The citations indicate pretty clearly that the term "political correctness" is used almost exclusively in a pejorative sense. Are you claiming that no-one in fact supports the view that language should be chosen to provide a minimum of offense, particularly to racial, cultural, or other identity groups, or that no positive term is used to describe this view. How would you characterise "inclusive language" or in a way that is different from this? At some point insisting on citations gets in the way of stating obvious facts.JQ 12:33, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Every time someone starts talking about "obvious facts" I reach for my gum.--Cberlet 13:20, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I've tried again, stating (with supporting citations) the fact that critics of inclusive language and civility refer to these ideas as examples of political correctness - in this context the fact that the critics are POV and partisan isn't a problem, I think. At the risk of sending you to your gum, I think it's pretty evident that both critics and supporters are talking about the same thing, namely language chosen not to give offence, but I won't make that leap in the article. JQ 07:33, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

What you wrote is much better. I actually don't think your claim that both critics and supporters are talking about the same thing is true, incidently. But if this claim appears in a published article, then citing it would suffice to justify inclusion. Thanks for sticking with the editing.--Cberlet 15:17, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks to you also. I agree that what is there now is significantly better than what I wrote originally. And in an article like this it's better to be safe than sorry. JQ 02:33, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Archiving talk page

I've archived the talk page up to and including discussions started December 2006, as these earlier discussions were no longer receiving comments directly related to discussing the article's contents. Feel free to de-archive any discussions that are still active. --Muchness 01:30, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Remove page tags?

Remarkable as it may seem, this ain't a bad version of the entry. Unless I see objections over the next few days, I think it is time to remove the page tags.--Cberlet 18:25, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Opposed. The opening comment seems to indicate that political correctness is a pejoritive term (rather than a tangible left wing ideology that deserves explanation). It goes on to say that political correctness intends to avoid references to race or culture (that simply isn't true -- it intends to stigmatize certain speech in the public discourse) in a context perpetuated in popular culture (whatever that means), chiefly by majority groups (I can't make sense of this comment without understanding the previous part). Then of course it goes on to discuss civility and inclusiveness (I suppose this is the only true meaning of political correctness), and then finishes by suggesting that PC is a straw man invented by the new right. Gee whiz, let me guess, you're not a conservative? MoodyGroove 18:14, 21 April 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
If you object, by all means, find citations otherwise! You make the somewhat bizarre claim that political correctness is a "tangible left-wing ideology"--could you cite which left-wing sources support this? It should be easy, if it is so tangible, to find major mainstream left-wing sources supporting political correctness... I think if you looked, though, you'd find that by and large, the majority of "political correctness" out there is more a result of corporations trying to sell to the mass market and appeal to as many people as possible, not the vast Marxist plot some imagine it to be. The things you see on TV or read about in the newspaper are largely governed by money, not ideology. --Aquillion 02:59, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Let me clarify. What I meant was, the lead was too one sided (PC is a figment of everyone's imagination or a straw man argument), and did not conform to the Wikipedia's neutral point of view editing guideline. I actually don't have a problem with the current lead. MoodyGroove 16:40, 6 June 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove
  • Agree Political Correctness is what it is, and will always be seen as contentious by those who seek to limit expression. Long past time to remove the tags.Lowellt 12:05, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Singular they

I'm removing the bit about singular they, because the story is much more complicated than is mentioned here, and has little to do with political correctness. Here are some links to uses of singular they that date from long before politcal correctness:

[2] [3]

In case you're too busy to read the links, singular they was used by Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and the King James Version of the Bible, none of whom are noted for their political correctness. Novalis 15:22, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Religion and PC

I'm in a CONSERVATIVE area, in fact the BIBLE BELT. Some preachers call Political Correctness SATANIC. Can that be stated ? 04:36, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

This is all utterly wrong

This article is in grave error and very badly written. Formally, political correctness is the presence, enforcement or promotion of that which is in accordance with what has been declared acceptable by a political group, in particular in relation to Marxism. We have the outlawing of words, thoughts, ideas and topics, along with the promotion of a Marxist world view in general. Language which provides a minimum of offense towards their political allies constitutes a case of this but more commonly it refers to representing fiction, religious texts, hearsay and pseudoscience as fact, distorting facts or selectively and deceptively presenting facts in a way that serves the goals of Communism. Another more subtle example would be the aggressive recommendation of industrial practices and products in a way that maximizes money flow to companies that are affiliated with the party while minimizing the money flow to competing companies, under the guise of what is presented as technological reasons. An important common ingredient in all of these is the presence of social pressure and the punishment of dissidents beyond what is common in a normal situation.

The "History" section has the form that I would expect in a serious work and is all right.

Needless to say, statements from "some commentators" don't deserve their own section. The only relevance would be to highlight the fact that they have been made, when and in what historical context, with focus on history. The verb "to argue" seems to imply that the author agrees with the legitimacy of the argument (where in this case this is blatantly untrue as documented elsewhere in the article). There are neutral words that fit the job, such as claim or say.

Think about the subjects of your sentences. The subject also marks the topic of the sentence. You have consistently written "critics argue", "Camille Paglia, a self-described 'libertarian Democrat,' argues", "some argue", "some commentators argue", etc. And in the extremity "An alternative objection to the discourse surrounding 'political correctness' is the claim". What is the motive here? Clearly, the content of the claim ought to be the focus of the sentence rather than who is making it or that it is an alternative objection, especially when the claimant is an indefinite pronoun. Such sentences better ought to be written in passive form or using adverbials. You also have to decide if you are writing a historical summary or examining an on-going argument. In the former case you want to use the past tense and describe the arguments in terms of their historical context, whereas in the latter you use the present and explain the arguments made in more detail giving an explanation of why they are relevant. But this here is just a long, repetitive, disordered, meaningless, staccato string of trivia.

In contrast, the section titled "Political correctness as a linguistic concept" has a structure that I can agree with but uses many value-loaded words and phrases and could have been taken straight out of a party brochure. As an example the first paragraph reads: "This practice of using 'inclusive' or 'neutral' language is based on the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, which states that a language's grammatical categories shape its speakers' ideas and actions. The objective is to bring peoples' unconscious biases into awareness, allowing them to make more informed choices about their language and making them aware of things different people might find offensive." Unless the author was here to advertise his Party beliefs it ought to have been worded in this manner: "This practice of using 'inclusive' and 'neutral' language was based on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which postulated that a language's grammatical categories shape its speakers' ideas and actions. The objective was to change people's biases, causing them to make different choices about their language and making them concerned about things different people might find offensive."

This is why I believe that writing or alteration of encyclopaedic material ought to be done by experts who have a thorough understand of the topic and of formal writing, and the fact that this is the exception rather than the rule here is undoubtedly the reason that most people don't take this website seriously. I hate to be harsh, but it's clearly needed. 04:19, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps you need to look at the concept of citations. Most of the sentences you object to end with a reference, indicating which commentators have made the claims in question. This is standard practice in technical writing. For the rest, you appear to want the article to reflect your POV, based on the premise that political debate in the United States is dominated by Marxists/Communists, a view that is not widely shared.JQ 04:43, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I think that may have been disappointed that the meaning of the phrase has changed from what it may have meant in the past and/or that it has different meanings in different fields of research. This article treats the meaning of the phrase as being the one that is "popularily" understood. However, the poster does not suggest that "political debate in the United States is dominated by Marxists/Communists" - the poster is only describing the phenomenon through the view of a Marxist analytical framework. While I disagree with the poster that the "present" meaning is "utterly wroong", I agree that the article is current in a horrible state, confuses historical development and "validity", and avoids discussion of elements such as the "ingredient in all of these is the presence of social pressure and the punishment of dissidents" -- 18:16, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Following up the As a Linguistic Concept discussion: I've added citations to two seminal articles regarding the demonstrable influence of lexical choices on perceptions, memories, and preferences of speakers and hearers. I also cleaned up the unsupported assertion that it is in fact the strong form of the S-W hypothesis that underwrites the worry that sexist language promotes sexist thought.Leftwinglock (talk) 15:45, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Having done more reading of the cited sources for this section, I've substantially rewritten the claims about Edna Andrews's article. In fact Andrews did not say that the use of PC terms depends on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and her article was not critical of the fundamental idea. To be honest I don't see why that article is being used as a reference in this context, since the connection between language and thought is only a sidebar in the article (and not a terribly well developed one at that). The main focus of the paper is on the social category of taboos, as seen through C.S. Pierce's theory of semiotics and signification. But at least it's a fairly relevant academic reference, so rather than delete all reference to it, I've made the claims correct and augmented them with more references to linguistic effects on cognition and decisions. Leftwinglock (talk) 01:24, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
PLEASE post all current discussions at the BOTTOM of the page, as requested at the top of this page. This is a standard Wikipedia procedure for a reason: it is almost impossible to track discussions that are popping up all over a discussion page. I have reproduced the last two posts above at the bottom of the page. A little common courtesy helps for a more collaborative and constructive process of editing. Thanks.--Cberlet (talk) 01:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)