On being 'Politically Correct'

I'm seeing this a lot, so just quickly:


The term ‘political correctness’, for what it’s worth, is never used with accuracy or as some kind of neutral observation that a person is, say, very adept to the political machinations of their country. Instead it’s employed as a tool of dismissal, to suggest that a person is rigid, boring or cowardly. And this is bizarre! Because when we break this term down into its literal state, what is ‘correct’, aka what is ‘normal’, politically, are the political systems that have been in place and supported by a majority for hundreds of years.


In Australia, for example, when for a century and a half or longer, our political system was proudly built on hegemony (that is, dominance over BIPOC), Imperialism and the resultant policies of White Australia et al; and from this, the public dog-whistling of our powerful leaders against all sorts of vulnerable populations from refugees to Aboriginal people - to be ‘politically correct’ here means to agree with and uphold those harmful, outdated, racist values. If you are a racist comedian, or a sexist media executive, or a HR manager who discriminates, or a politician who makes provably incorrect public statements about groups of people (or if you defend them because they allow you to feel secure and safe in your own actions) - you ARE legally, financially, politically, supported by the structures that are already in place. You aren’t an outlier or someone breaching some brave new level of honesty. You are, in effect, being the stereotypical ‘undergrown bully supported by his bigger mates’ or perhaps even the simpering bystander.


To challenge the hegemonic powers and structures in place, that is, to demand inclusivity and social justice, to call out ingrained toxic ideologies whether in our language, our hiring policies or our laws - that challenges the very definition of what most of us understand ‘political correctness’ to be. It can be dangerous to employment and thus socioeconomic stability, it can threaten physical and emotional safety, it requires concerted effort, planning, re-learning and hard graft.


There is nothing more inaccurate and embarrassing than someone attempting to dismiss an activist, hard worker and empowering ally as ‘politically correct’ or ‘PC’. To be ‘correct’, is to do what is already expected or acceptable. And if the powers that be, create expectations and accept cruelty, discrimination and racism - then to go along with that simply because you’re afraid of a little work, education and effort, is cowardly and infantile.


© 2019 by Kelsey Avalon. All Rights Reserved. All medical, financial and legal enquiries must be directed to your prescribing medical health professional or legal representative.