Once More: Please Understand what “Political Correctness” is!


In all the discussion over the change of the Washington football team’s name, there seems to be one erroneous path of logic for those upset about a possible name change: “it’s all about political correctness!” Guess what… this has nothing to do with “Political Correctness”, and just like the terms “Liberal”, “Socialist”, and “Communist”, I suggest you understand what you’re saying before you try and use the words in a counterargument.

Politically correct is defined as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people” and “conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.” In layman’s terms, it means thinking about what you’re saying or doing because (regardless of intent) it might be construed offensively. Some people call it “critical thinking” or “common sense”…

Political correctness is what gave us debates over labels regarding minorities, the disabled, or the elderly. “African Americans” versus “Blacks”, “Native Americans” versus “American Indians”, “Disabled” versus “Handicapped”, etc. The reason these debates on PC are so divisive is that even the people being labeled have different opinions on what they want (if anything). Worse, these debates are often started by people who don’t even belong to the groups being labeled, bringing to question who is offended and why? Regardless, PC debates are basically about determining if a seemingly inoffensive term or action is, in fact, offensive and should be used.

The term “Redskins” is not about PC because there is no debate on whether it is offensive or not. It is offensive. It is labeled in multiple dictionaries as offensive slang, derogatory, and a racial slur. It was created as a slur, was continually used as a derogatory term, and is still found offensive by the very people it labels. There is no debate on whether this term is innocuous, as even half of the people who want to keep the name admit it is an inappropriate label. Therefore, this has nothing to do with the political correctness of the term, as the majority of ~everybody~ agrees it is not.

The debate over the use of American Indian imagery in sports is about PC. Feel free to argue over whether teams like the Indians or the Braves are being offensive or not.

The debate over the term “Redskins” is not about PC. It’s about the continued use of a racial slur, that the majority agrees is a racial slur, and that has no place in an intelligent, educated, and intercultural society.

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