Political Correctness and Sensitive Speech

One subject that Donald Trump has renewed conversation about is political correctness. He is not for it, and that has pushed many to also challenge it. Political correctness is now often allied with identity politics and that is seen by its critics as a cause of liberals. On the other hand there are those who still believe in the values inherent in free speech and political correctness even if their meaning is not always uniform. Yet, for others still free speech has come to mean being able to say what one wants without regards to notions of political correctness. Free speech came out of the free speech movement of the 60’s which itself ushered in or reinforced the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and LGBT rights. The idea was to leave behind old ways and old patterns which were discriminatory, for example the way we had of always saying he when we meant something more generic, something that included shes as well. The idea was to be more inclusive, not discriminate against any one group, be sensitive to their values and history. In its attempts to be more inclusive the definition of what is politically correct keeps changing, and one would argue as well it should.
I was struck by a long article in Der Spiegel, a respected German publication, taking a look at how political correctness is now practiced in the US. The reporter went to Oberlin College in Ohio and reported about students speaking of trigger warnings and safe spaces as examples of how political correctness is being exaggerated. It takes a European observer as opposed to one being part of US culture, to look at the present through new eyes. It’s as if he’s poking fun at the US showing us how self- indulgent we can be and how we can distort a concept through exaggerating its intent. That said the article misunderstands the concept of micro-aggression lumping it with the exaggerations he cites about students calling just about anything upsetting them a trigger warning, something which could traumatize them. The misconception itself is telling, micro-aggression which is now a documented form of subtle racism shows us why the ideas behind political correctness have value. Of course the reaction of a German reporter, who is not like us living in a racially diverse culture, can be instructive and reveal why political correctness is needed. Another article by a professor in Wisconsin tackles the issue from another point of view. He speaks of the attacks on political correctness from state legislators in several states who do not agree with it. To them free speech has little to do with its intent, and the whole idea of identity politics something they feel is harmful.
Now that Mr. Trump’s views have issued a challenge, and made being against political correctness more acceptable than it was just a short while ago, now that it is assailed by state legislators, now may be the time to choose another phrase, one that would retain the ideas that reflects its—and our—values, but one without the political baggage of political correctness, one that may lead to a sort of renaissance and reaffirmation of its need. My suggestion is sensitive speech or non-discriminatory speech. What’s yours?