Monday, February 11, 2008

The History Of Political Correctness

Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term used to describe language, ideas, policies, or behavior seen as seeking to minimize offense to racial, cultural, or other identity groups. Conversely, the term politically incorrect is used to refer to language or ideas that may cause offense or that are unconstrained by orthodoxy.

The term itself and its usage are controversial. The term "political correctness" is used almost exclusively in a pejorative sense,[1][2] while "politically incorrect" is commonly used as a self-description, as in the series of "politically incorrect guides', produced by conservative publisher Regnery.

Some commentators have argued that the term "political correctness" is a straw man invented by conservatives in the 1990s in order to challenge progressive social change, especially with respect to issues of race, religion and gender.[1][4] Ruth Perry traces the term back to Mao's little red book. According to Perry, the term was later adopted by the radical left in the 1960s. In the 1990s, because of the term's association with radical politics and communist censorship, it was used by the political right in the United States to discredit the political left, including liberals and Democrats.

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