Letter to the Editor: Too much political correctness

Dear Editor:

I found it quite interesting when comedian Jerry Seinfeid mentioned a couple of weeks ago the reasons why he doesn’t perform at college campuses.

In case you didn’t know well let me remind you. It was because of the atmosphere of overt political correctness. Terms like “that’s racist” or “that’s sexist” these days are just thrown around whimsically and somehow has become part of everyday speech regardless of the content.

See, this is very problematic. What it does instead is close the forum for open debate, the interaction of ideas, and not only does it hurt comedy, personal interactions, and the social atmosphere, but it destroys chivalry. Could you image trying to compliment a woman platonically, but instead of saying what you would like to say you have to choose your words wisely because it might just be considered offensive? I guess some would rather not mention anything at all even though you are just acknowledging what she is great at.

It also takes the meaning out of the words. Not everything is “racist” so when real racism occurs people respond with desensitivity, similarly to “the boy who cried wolf” with their reaction.  It kind of serves the same purpose as censorship, but I thought we were supposed to live in a democracy? It is troublesome because it attaches itself to modern day language to the point where people are primed to think a certain way once they hear a statement.

It seeps its way into television programs, and the way scripts are written for commercials and show characters. Into the sports arenas, where we expect our sports figures to have an opinion on it, like if they were carrying the “torch of justice.” And into our political arenas, where we expect presidential candidates to make a comment on “hands up, don’t shoot.”

Then it is reinforced in headlines and the front pages of national newspapers. So if you were watching television or reading print media, some might just dismiss it as a “right or left” program or article. If you have a true opinion on topics like gun control, same sex marriage or immigration, you might not want to expose your true feelings due to the “spiral of silence,” or isolation you might receive in your social circles.

What if you are on a jury during a trial and regardless of what the arguments are the agenda has already been set by the media which could prime some to think a certain way, and the trial might have a biased or unfair outcome?

All these things are dismissive and don’t encourage debate or realism in general, because we are all afraid of being called down to HR, being fined or punished, or another consequence of living in an overly litigious society.

We need to wake up ladies and gentlemen, oops I meant “people,” and realize that we can’t be afraid to speak openly. The founders placed this in the Constitution and we have every right to do it. We can’t sit here and argue about how North Korea or Iran practices censorship while we engage in it through societal mechanisms. I guess you could even make the argument that it is undemocratic, that it is against the “American way!” Yes, I said it. It is not sugarcoated, unquote.

Until we have the guts to speak openly about what we feel and not drive the debates underground, then issues like immigration will never be solved. If you look through history from the Civil Rights Movement, to slavery, voting rights, or whatever divided the nation, we never came to a resolution until we spoke openly. Once that occurred, we were able to address issues and least the best we could. We need to wake people. Oh, and watch out for the demagogues. 

Johnathan Quevedo
Downey