Don’t Be Rude


Yulliet Ruiz, News Editor

Something I hear often is that “being politically correct hurts free speech.” But, to me, the point of being politically correct is not about hampering people’s speech. It’s about being respectful of other people.

Many people see political correctness as a nuisance and feel as if they “shouldn’t have to accommodate other people.” To me, this is a bit dramatic. Is it really that hard to change a few words in one’s vocabulary to be more respectful towards groups of people who, perhaps, feel offended by their use?

Many people use the argument that people are too sensitive nowadays. That certainly could be the case. It could also be that people are becoming aware of what they say and the potential effects their words and actions could have. I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s a great thing that people are becoming more “sensitive” and responsive to the world around them.

Often times, the people who argue that “being politically correct hinders free speech” hide behind the idea of free speech to say offensive things. True, the United States Constitution does allow for free speech and Congress can make no law “abridging” it (To an extent. See libel, slander, obscenity, fighting words, intellectual property, etc.).

“I’m an American,” they say. “It’s my constitutional right to say whatever I want.” Again, very true. However, under the umbrella of free speech is also the right for people to call out other people for being bigots. It goes both ways. People can’t expect to say or do whatever they want with no consequences. Part of that is reminding people to use the correct terms when referring to groups of people.

Let’s say you’re talking with a friend and you’re joking around and you say something that makes the other person say, “Hey, what you said offends me and I would prefer if you didn’t say that.”

Are immediately going to say, “Stop being so sensitive!” or keeping saying the offensive thing just to spite them? If you are, chances are you’re a bad friend. Dismissing what people feel is rude. You can’t decide what is and isn’t offensive to someone else if you aren’t that person.

All in all, it’s not that hard to be a decent person. If someone identifies one way and prefers using certain pronouns, use them. Stay away from derogatory/offensive terms. There are thousands of words in the English language. Surely there are words that are suitable alternatives.