In our homes, what we say and how we say it matters. Children hear everything and understand more than we think they do. We’re the ones who help explain the world for them as they grow. And there is plenty to help them understand during this election season.
In school, your child learns to understand today’s politics by thinking, reading, writing, and discussion. We teachers guide students toward carefully considered, informed opinions expressed with appropriate vocabulary. Most teachers do this without inserting their opinions to sway a student’s mind.
This year, though, parents are needed more than ever. The accepted–even admired–communication style consists of rudeness laced with vulgarity and crudeness, with the disclaimer, “This isn’t politically correct, but…”
Our language and its phrases change over time. Not long ago, being politically correct referred to the act of being sensitive to expressions that disparaged people or ridiculed groups. But now, thanks to the media, we’re able to hear these vicious statements blared over and over and around the clock.
When you get your child thinking about politics, I urge you to teach him that being politically correct is not wrong. Teach him to understand that respectful disagreement is fine, healthy, and sheds better light on ideas.
2 thoughts on “Understanding “Politically Correct””
But, political correctness means that you may offend someone. I understand intentional offenses being a problem, but when you do have something to say about a person, it may be the truth about that person, yet if that person is a minority, often that statement gets misconstrued as an attack on a group of people. That is not political incorrectness. Instead, the person who makes a factual comment about a person is seen as a bigot, homophobe and is personally attacked.
Thank you for your comment, Lisa. As the English language evolves, we adults need to evolve along with it. As you point out, it is easy for words to be misconstrued. Words that may have been acceptable at one time are no longer okay, because we know they hurt, diminish, or insult other people.
I always teach students that effective and informed communication means (1) considering the meaning they convey and (2) how their words will be received by their audience. And that’s how our culture moves forward, right?–through improved communication and expressing ourselves appropriately.