Two letters seem to represent everything that is right or wrong with our generation. P for political, and C for correctness. For many, the millennials and Generation Z are an over-protected bunch of school brats who use the words “racism” and “sexism” as ways to barricade themselves away from any real-life threats. But really, PC culture is a necessity in today’s world in order to reduce the impact of violent and offensive speeches and to oppose extremist ideologies.
According to the Hill, even President Barack Obama expressed himself on the topic, criticizing the grounds on which PC culture was established. He criticized college campuses that avoid reading books with any hint of a demeaning attitude towards women. Author Bret Easton Ellis shares this opinion that millennials are defined by “oversensitivity” and “overreacting.” Both of them make a pertinent point, but although PC culture may sugarcoat some ideas, it mostly brings a positive impact to our society.
Something that these critics fail to take into account, especially in today’s strongly opinionated political landscape, is the red carpet deployed for personalities like Donald Trump and Ben Carson to spill their right-wing extremist views on Muslims and immigration, among other topics. It is hard to blame college students for willfully shielding themselves from atrocious declarations like the ones from Trump, when their own left-wing ideas are still labeled socialist or communist, and quickly dismissed. This is more a result of political polarization in the United States than it is of the new generation being soft and unaccepting.
To the dismay of Vanity Fair’s London Editor Henry Porter, PC culture has reportedly reached Britain. Porter says that millennials often expand upon personal rights and “various classes of victimhood” without a lot of reflection upon the subject of liberty. Again, his comments only critique a small part of what PC culture is really about. Michelle Duguid, a professor of organizational behavior at Washington University in St. Louis, co-authored a study that claims establishing a PC environment makes it more comfortable for both men and women to share their perspectives even within a diverse group of people. Her findings highlight the crucial shift in social norms that eventually nurtured PC culture. In 2016, we are trying to bring about change that is meant to challenge us individually but also protect historically secluded social groups from people like Carson, who wrongly and offensively claimed in a CNN interview that some heterosexual people who enter prison are turned homosexual.
While people should have a right to express their views, they must also consider how their words and actions affect others. PC culture is an adapted response to an age where certain types of virtual and human interactions are ten-fold the amount of ones our parents were exposed to. In an age of changing social norms, bigoted hate speech that clearly aims to harm any group or individual should not be protected under the guise of liberty.