Living outside the US, I don’t quite understand the debate over “political correctness.” It seems to me there are excesses on both the left and the right.
Robby Soave at Reason.com, a libertarian publication, claims Donald Trump sparked a counter-revolution against political correctness and that’s why he won the election. Yet he admits that “political correctness” is extremely hard to define and offers only a couple of meager examples, not something worthy of a counter-revolution.
Trump’s victory is easy to over-interpret. I would be careful if I were Soave to attribute it to his pet peeve.
Barton Swain, a conservative speechwriter, takes a different view: Donald Trump Tries to End Political Correctness, and Saves It
That feeling of delegitimation, of not being able to state one’s beliefs without attracting accusations of bigotry and backwardness, isn’t something most Americans will put up with for long. Many of them felt gagged and irritated, and Trump shrewdly named the thing that troubled them: political correctness. A lot of people fell for it. And in falling for it, they made two disastrous mistakes. First, by promoting political incorrectness as a remedy to the taboos they rightly detest, they gave us a man so loathsome as to make those taboos seem almost sensible. In the saddest irony of this deeply strange election year, Trump’s supporters have managed to enhance the credibility of political correctness: Given the choice between political correctness and the bigoted tirades of a dirty old man, I’ll take political correctness.
Catherine Rampall, an editorial writer for The Washington Post, does offer an example of an over-reaction by administrators at Bowdoin College. Catherine Rampell: Political correctness devours yet another college, fighting over mini-sombreros
Eugene Robinson, a columnist for The Post, pointed out that the right has labeled any challenge to facts they find inconvenient as “not being politically correct.” Eugene Robinson: Republicans are the ones hiding behind ‘political correctness’
- Larry Summers, “Political Correctness” has become a codeword for hate: “I have the scars to show for speaking out against overdoing the idea of microaggression, the regulation of Halloween costumes and the prosecution of students for taking part in sombrero parties – all of which have struck me as “political correctness” run amok…(BUT Trump) has accepted without criticism the enthusiastic support of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups that were previously on the fringes of society. He has invoked standard anti-Semitic tropes in his political advertising. And he has made clear that he believes grabbing and groping women is appropriate behavior. Black students, gay students, Hispanic students, Muslim students, disabled students, female students – all of them now fear that the basic security and acceptance on which they relied is at risk. Help lines are flooded with calls. Those who seek to count hateful incidents report an upsurge.”