Monday, January 09, 2006

Defending PC

A report by the Civitas think tank earlier in the week about PC sparked debate on several radio stations and crowing articles in the right wing press. The main arguments can be found in this posting.

But in yesterday's Observer, columnist Will Hutton makes a number of good points defending PC, or rather what he terms courtesy, arguing that we're not living under some liberal jackboot (a bizarre and distinctly unsexy image, like Simon Hughes in drag) but in a society where words matter and can create division and hatred.

Interestingly, Hutton ties in language used to label and discriminate with the racist or totalitarian societies that produced them, arguing:
"Derogatory words laden with prejudice not only degrade those they describe, who find themselves categorised in ways they do not deserve - they degrade the social currency. The aggressive, dysfunctional language of hatred of the American South, Nazi Germany or Mao's China helped both to create and sustain those societies. Words were crucial to the governing ideologies".
So, while the trendy argument on the right of the political spectrum seems to be that PC is taking away our rights to free speech, Hutton makes the persuasive point that PC is in fact defending our rights to live in a peaceful society free from abuse.

(Thanks to Anjuli for this link.)

Useful for:
ENA1 - Language & Representation
ENA6 - Language Debates

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