The term “political correctness,” defined as “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against,” has recently become a beacon for debate amongst politicians, celebrities, and civilians alike. Many famous figures have come under fire for saying comments that were not considered by the masses as “politically correct.” The topic was even discussed in an onstage question at the Miss USA pageant this year. However, like Miss Rhode Island, many people are confused and torn when it comes to the subject, and a gap has emerged, especially between demographics. Generally, the older population, raised during a different time than the younger generation, are bigger opponents of being politically correct, and many defend or approve of comments that could be perceived as racist or prejudice.
During the popular E! show Fashion Police, Giuliana Rancic came under fire for her comments about Disney star Zendaya.
“She just has such a tiny frame that this hair, to me, overwhelms her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil. Or weed! Yeah, maybe weed?” she said. Critics, including Zendaya herself, believed her comments were racist, and Rancic later apologized. Fellow Fashion Police co-star, Kelly Osbourne, left the show as a result. Rancic, however, defended herself, stating that she is not a racist and that it only appeared that way due to bad editing. Later, while hosting The View, Osbourne also made a comment that was met with backlash.
“If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilets, Donald Trump?” she ironically asked while speaking out against Trump’s immigration beliefs. Osbourne also defended her actions.
“In this particular case I will take responsibility for my poor choice of words,” she wrote on Facebook, “but I will not apologize for being a racist as I am NOT.” Although both Rancic and Osbourne’s comments were meant humorously, that did not stop critics from saying they were not being “politically correct.” Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is one of many that have spoken out against political correctness, specifically insisting against political correctness in an area very personal to him: comedy.
“I don’t play colleges,” Seinfeld said, “but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC…[college students] just want to use these words: ‘That’s racist;’ ‘That’s sexist;’ ‘That’s prejudice.’ They don’t know what…they’re talking about.” Many blame the younger generation for sparking the new wave of evasion. Donald Trump, who is currently leading the polls for the Republican candidates, however, does not seem concerned about loosing the younger generation’s vote, stating that political correctness is one of the issues in the United States that he wants to resolve.
“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct,” Trump said at the first Republican GOP debate, “I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.”
We want to know what you think: Is political correctness holding the country back or helping it propel forward and become more accepting? Tell us your opinion in the poll below.