Is it just me or does everyone think political correctness is a small price to pay for making the world a better place?
If you work in the media, particularly live media, it’s a mine field. Try discussing Caster Semenya and hyperandrogenism on live radio without breaking into a sweat.
I grew up in a country that was very comfortable telling jokes about Jews, Aborigines and people with a disability.
I know people who rue the day those jokes stopped being funny, they feel like their rights are somehow being violated and minority groups should ‘get over themselves.’
There is every chance that Rugby Australia will sack Israel Folau this weekend and trigger a torrent of players tweeting their lies about homosexuals, demanding their right to free speech.
And so-called patriots are demanding that Pauline Hanson be allowed ‘say what we’re thinking’ about Asians, Muslims and Indigenous Australians.
I think pointing out people’s differences and laughing at them is rude.
I think putting all people of a certain ethnicity, religion or gender into the same basket to find fault with them is not just bigoted, it defies logic.
Humans are judgemental. We are all guilty of making assumptions and cruel jokes, but smart people accept that the victims are real. Even Pauline Hanson learned this week that being marginalised and criticised for the sins of others doesn’t feel very nice.
Political correctness is just common decency.
Freedom of speech gives you the right to say what you feel but it also gives other people the right to fight back. And it’s not up to you or me to decide when a person is allowed to be offended.
I have been a journalist for 30 years. I remember my first news director made an on-air joke about a kid with Italian heritage making the state cricket team. We got complaints, he was outraged and I was bemused. I had grown up with Italian kids who loved cricket and I didn’t know why his heritage was important nor why the Italian community saw it as a slur. But now I get it.
When we ignore political correctness for a light hearted joke, we perpetuate discrimination.
From that day my job has challenged me to think critically about what I am going to say. I don’t always get it right, but when I do unwittingly offend, people are usually very forgiving.
Political correctness gives the historically marginalised the right to be heard.
Only now are we hearing stories of what it’s like to be transgender, homosexual or disabled. Bringing everyone into the light, allowing them a seat at the table, is the greatest achievement of this generation. And if that has cost you a couple of cheap gags, judgmental tweets or seats in parliament, I honestly don’t care.