eK! is electronic Kabalen (eksite.com), a web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas

abel d soto
abel soto POLITICAL CORRECTNESS introduces the idea and spirit of multiculturalism in an effort to increase tolerance for a diversity of cultures, race, gender, ideology and alternate lifestyles of people from all over the world. Political correctness also tries to compel everyone (and I hope that political correctness applies to all kinds of artists as well) to avoid using words, ideas, works, and seemingly idiosyncratic behavior that appear to be discriminating or offending to various groups of people. To put it bluntly, political correctness as we know it today is a far cry from what it was set out to be all those years ago. (So many people now ask whether Mideo Cruz's artworks are politically correct or not.)

While political correctness has its flaws, political correctness is still a vital part in society to some degree. It is designed for the betterment of this generation and it is designed for the betterment of the world overall, in theory though. According to some writers, if anything at all, political correctness is nothing more than a play on words (or ideas, works, and seemingly idiosyncratic behavior) to substitute offensive words (or ideas, works, and seemingly idiosyncratic behavior) that are not as shocking to others.

Political correctness, when used correctly, enables us to bridge any gaps or boundaries between cultures, faiths, and societal differences. However, there are some groups who claim that political correctness, as we know it today, is overly used and out of control and has been carried into ridiculous length, as anything considered the slightest bit offensive is seen as politically incorrect. Such political correctness, according to these groups, needs to be toned down so that it does not violate our freedom of speech and expression.

It is not politically incorrect to say then that we are confused as a nation about political correctness. On the one hand, we condemn discrimination or identity-based divisions between ourselves; and on the other, we care so deeply about freedom of speech and expression. Add to that the desire for relative equality between the people of all identities and you have a web of confusing philosophical contradictions. Sometimes, it is indeed funny to be politically correct in a world that is slowly drowned by political incorrectness, but oftentimes it is a lot more ridiculous to be politically incorrect in a world that still fights so mightily for political correctness.

So how does our society respond to this question: "In an era of globalization inhabited mostly by the 'whatever generation', is political correctness still something to be taken into great consideration?”

Well, at the moment, very few respond to this question. There is a void, a silence, emanating from the depths of social relativism when it comes to political correctness, most especially on the part of the "whatever generation". Political correctness is the elephant in the room, a mildly embarrassing necessity which, much like the question of the minority, is often shunted to the back of our priorities while others of a less reasoned persuasion are allowed to dominate the debate, especially when art and morality clash for dominion.

"Political correctness has gone mad" is the rallying cry and the vast majority of the population, to some extent or another, agrees with them. But we cannot also deny the fact that there is not just a deception going on here, but also a gross misunderstanding about the nature of liberty and freedom, and this must be exposed in order for political correctness to be defended as it should be and not as what we would want it to be defended.

And, according to Paul Graham, a philosopher and an essayist, this is one of the most correct ways to make political correctness politically correct.

[About the author. Abel D. Soto took up his certificatory double major course in Creative Writing and Performing Arts at Centre for Arts Foundation, Inc. in Quezon City. He also finished the Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. He is a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga.]

-Posted: 10:10 AM 9/5/11 | More of this author on eK!