'Politically Correct' Is a Pejorative Slur and Not a Neutral Descriptive Term, OK?

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Most people would say they do not want America becoming more overtly racist. Many of those same people would also decry “political correctness.” Why? Because “politically correct” is a loaded political buzzword that is used as a trap. Obviously!!

Here is one way to say something: “America is becoming more and more politically correct.” Here is another way to say it: “In America, it is becoming less acceptable to be overtly racist, sexist, or anti-gay.” We can quibble over details, and there will always be extremism on college campuses that is easy to make fun of, but these both describe the same general phenomenon. “Politically correct” is a pejorative term. Obviously!! We have 25 years of incredibly tedious “culture wars” to back this up.


So if you purport to be a respectable mainstream media outlet like NPR, and you are genuinely seeking to add to the public’s understanding of the political landscape in America, do not under any circumstances do this:

Heading into the 2020 Democratic primaries, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll has a warning for Democrats: Americans are largely against the country becoming more politically correct.

Fifty-two percent of Americans, including a majority of independents, said they are against the country becoming more politically correct and are upset that there are too many things people can’t say anymore. Only about a third said they are in favor of the country becoming more politically correct and like when people are being more sensitive in their comments about others.


Okay, let me stop you right there. If this were a poll commissioned by the Republican National Committee, I would be unsurprised. The only reason I am surprised is that this poll was, for a reason that surpasseth all understanding, commissioned by NPR. This is a push poll. Which is to say, this is a poll that uses loaded, pejorative wording in order to push respondents towards a specific response. I would like to see what results this poll would produce if you changed the question to, “Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that it is now considered rude to make racist remarks in public?” Because really, that is what we’re talking about here.

There are of course plenty of people who would love to be able to make racist remarks in public again. That’s Donald Trump’s base. But that’s more like 30% of people than 52%.

I would be happy to make the 2020 election rest on the question of “Racist and sexist slurs all the time: Good or bad?”

Do better, NPR. Click and Clack the Tappet brothers would be very disappointed.