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Political Correctness

(71 Posts)
Penstemmon Thu 02-Feb-17 21:42:30

Sometimes I have seen the term PC used as a derogatory term to undermine an opinion about the use of partiular language /behaviour.

I suspect that GNners have different slants on what PC is/is not.

Do you think there is a place for PC or not?

rosesarered Thu 02-Feb-17 21:57:27

Presumably this post is because I asked if it was a new kind of PC to tell somebody off ( on another thread) who said that a tv presenter had been grinning like a monkey whilst he had been speaking.I couldn't for the life of me see why it was wrong( in fact is isn''s all in the eye of the beholder.)If the tv presenter had been black/Asian then I think it would have been insulting, but he was white.He was grinning widely, therefore the expression used.Is this PC ( to condemn a phrase) I don't know but suspect that it is.

rosesarered Thu 02-Feb-17 21:59:18

To directly answer the OP, yes I do think that some things ( described as PC ) are fine but as with most things in life, can be taken too far.

MaizieD Thu 02-Feb-17 22:09:26

Are you asking if there is a place for political correctness?

If you are, then I think there most certainly is a place for language (and behaviour?) which doesn't demean or belittle or offend. Although some people might think that this is taken to extremes I have often thought that an extreme view or behaviour is often helpful in producing a moderate change in views and behaviour.

Of course change is resisted but, if you think back to, say, the 1970s I'm sure you could find a fair few examples of language or attitudes which were commonplace then but would now produce acute embarrassment or disgust in an onlooker. And the reasonableness of the motive for not doing them is understood, without any resentment, by most people. Would we really find Alf Garnett funny these days? Or be amused by depictions of women as incompetent half wits? Or would we approve of calling a disabled person a spastic?

I really dislike the term 'politically correct' because it was coined as a pejorative description and has never stopped being perjorative. Yet the motives behind the attempts to change attitudes and language have been mostly really good; to attempt to make all members of society feel valued and to recognise that they must not be stereotyped and held back by that stereotype.

Judthepud2 Thu 02-Feb-17 22:09:37

With regard to PC language, I heard an interesting discussion on the radio this morning about medical personnel being required to use the expression 'pregnant person' rather than 'pregnant woman' so as not to offend transgender people. ?

MaizieD Thu 02-Feb-17 22:13:14

What conclusion did the people discussing it come to?

NanKate Thu 02-Feb-17 22:18:13

I think we are far too easily offended nowadays and I do think the world is so PC it irritates me beyond words.

For example when I used to teach many of my students were of ethnic origin and to my knowledge I never upset any of them and I had a good relationship with the majority. However it was some of, not all, my white middle class bosses who gave out all the rules of what could or couldn't be said. hmm

I am a Brummie and would laugh if anyone made a joke about us, but this would be thought of as not the correct thing to do nowadays.

I think I had better stop now Penstemmon before I upset anyone grin

Penstemmon Thu 02-Feb-17 22:25:27

I throw out a couple of (friendly) challenges NanKate

a) aren't we all of ethnic origin?

b) would people have listened if it was the minority groups, rather than WMC requesting particular use of language/behaviours?

petra Thu 02-Feb-17 22:27:59

MaizieD In answer to your question: the medical staff thought the idea bonkers, as would most people in the real world.

GrandmaKT Thu 02-Feb-17 22:35:37

MaizieD In answer to your question: the medical staff thought the idea bonkers, as would most people in the real world.

That's as may be petra, but they have all got used to saying you will feel a small scratch rather than a small prick when you have blood taken or an injection - that's just because of political correctness!(and a scratch is completely different!)

Penstemmon Thu 02-Feb-17 22:40:02

Had there been complaints from pregnant trangender people? If somene had been hurt/upset then it is always worth reflecting on how to avoid that. However to have become pregnant they will be women now even if they were designated men at birth.

Penstemmon Thu 02-Feb-17 22:41:43

roses it was not only your post but it is something I have a strong opinion on sowhilst your post prompted me it was not directly about that!

Rigby46 Thu 02-Feb-17 23:14:10

Maizie - that's an excellent post. I really hate the phrase - it's so often used with a sneer. What it's really about is being thoughtful in the use of language and polite. The issue about pregnant persons is part of a huge debate about transgender issues and trans women in particular which I haven't seen on GN but is very hotly debated on MN. I'm very much in the feminist camp on this one

MaizieD Thu 02-Feb-17 23:21:35

MaizieD In answer to your question: the medical staff thought the idea bonkers, as would most people in the real world.

Why did you feel the need to add the bit about 'people in the real world' Petra? It rather sounds as though you think that people who don't think the same way as you do are in some way abnormal. Which could be construed as demeaning or belittling. Very unPC.

(For what it's worth, I think it's bonkers, too, but people have a perfect right to think differently without being thought abnormal. )

MaizieD Thu 02-Feb-17 23:26:19

Ooh, Rigby. What is the view of the feminist camp? (Perhaps we'd need another thread...)

Jalima Thu 02-Feb-17 23:52:32

It does cost money to change forms, advise medical staff on how to address people etc
There must be nearly 700,000 women pregnant each year in the UK and to change all the forms, inform all the staff because one transgender person (so far) is pregnant is an over-reaction. I think the would-be transgender person has put the transition on hold because he/she is pregnant by donor.

I agree that demeaning words, actions or language liable to upset or offend should not be used.
However, often some people are quite quick to take offence on behalf of others who may not themselves be offended.

M0nica Fri 03-Feb-17 07:12:06

politically correct' ... was coined as a pejorative description and has never stopped being perjorative. That seems quite reasonable. It is one of those phrases, like 'choice' (see the thread on ^interfering friend') which is used by some official bodies to avoid dealing with difficult problems

Political correctness inhibited the investigation of child abuse in cities like Oxford and Rotherham. It has inhibited the investigation of FGM and 'Honour' crimes. 'Choice' in relation to vulnerable people allows the authorities to leave people with impaired mental conditions suffering 'because they have 'chosen' to make decisions that did not help their well being rather than engage with the person and spending time helping them make better decisions or finding ways of mitigating them

suzied Fri 03-Feb-17 07:26:20

A pregnant transgender person would be someone who was assigned female at birth ( (I.e.biologically female) but because of gender dysphoria transitions to male . ( but they wouldn't hav had the full monty surgery and would have to stop taking male hormones in order to get pregnant)I don't think it could be the other way round - a biological male without uterus/ ovaries who transitions to female couldn't be pregnant ( as far as.I know , but I am sure some scientist is working on it). I'm not sure how this discussion started ! There was a transgender female to male on woman's hour yesterday who said he didn't expect the term mother to change and wasn't offende by people mistakenly using the wrong pronoun.

grannypiper Fri 03-Feb-17 07:28:00

Penstemmon if someone was born male they can not ever give birth to a baby, no matter what stage of transgender.

petra Fri 03-Feb-17 08:01:35

MOnica Thank you for bringing that up. People forget what horrendous damage was done to some young lives for the sake of PC. It makes me beyond angry.

Christinefrance Fri 03-Feb-17 08:29:19

It's interesting how these edicts about language to be used eg pregnant person, reflect the views of a very small minority whilst the majority are not consulted. Quite often the people who are affected by PC terminology are not the ones asking for changes it's usually someone officious,.

Eloethan Fri 03-Feb-17 09:02:52

Yesterday there was news coverage about an allegedly highly respected barrister (and former supporter of Mary Whitehouse), who headed up a Christian charity, whose alleged abuse of boys, whilst documented in an internal report, was covered up and not reported to the police. Was that the result of "political correctness"? Was it "political correctness" that prevented people from reporting their serious misgivings about Jimmy Savile's behaviour?

An article in the Guardian in 2010 reported:

"There seems to be no end to the scandals buffeting the Roman Catholic church about the abuse of children; most recently in Germany, where the headmaster a school associated with a choir once run by the pope's elder brother Georg Ratzinger has been exposed as an abuser. And there is no doubt that a lot of children were damaged for life by priests, and that this was mostly covered up by the hierarchy until recently. But was the Catholic church unfairly singled out? Aren't all children vulnerable to exploitation, especially when they are poor and unwanted."

Children in boarding schools and in other institutions where they are away from their families are more vulnerable to abuse and sometimes their abuse has been covered up to save the reputation of the school, church or other institution, or of powerful people.

The Rotherham case is just one among many of such cases which cross all classes and cultures and the subsequent report found a number of reasons why this abuse was allowed to continue. These included the ignorance, negligence and prejudice of the police and the inefficiency and understaffing of the child protection team.

I think political correctness (a phrase which I think is misleading) is, in general, a very good thing and is I think an extension of sensitive behaviour and good manners. However, in the case of the "expectant person", I do feel that this is perhaps misguided.

NanKate Fri 03-Feb-17 09:08:42

Thank you Penstemmon for coming back to me in a friendly way, I appreciate that.

Yes we are all of ethnic origin. I thought it was easier to use this word than listing all the different countries that my students came from.

Yes I would have considered what a minority group said and then made my decision.

I am in the minority I know with my views and I suspect life will become IMO more PC and that is something I have to accept.

I think Monica had some very important things to say about child abuse cases being inhibited by PCness which is very worrying in my eyes.

Anyway it is goodbye from me on this thread as I rarely get involved in contentious issues, as I prefer a more light hearted discussion.

Elegran Fri 03-Feb-17 09:30:57

grannypiper I am sure I remember the publicity surrounding a male-to-female transgender person (or it may have been a still-male one) who carried a baby to term with the placenta attached somewhere other than in a womb. It was delivered by Caesarian.

Jalima Fri 03-Feb-17 14:05:50

I'm not sure how this discussion started !
Ah, I thought it was that the term 'pregnant mother' was to be abolished and the more PC 'pregnant person' used instead at possibly quite a lot of cost to the NHS when there is, so far, only one pregnant person in the UK.