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Taking a look at *Politically Correct* in history

After reading some threads today, it got me to thinking about the term "politically correct" (PC) and its usage.

Pretty interesting, actually. It hasn't been around all that long. According to Wikipedia: Use of the term became popular in the early 1990s as part of a conservative challenge to curriculum and teaching methods on college campuses in the United States (D'Souza 1991; Berman 1992; Schultz 1993; Messer Davidow 1993, 1994; Scatamburlo 1998.) The word was taken from Marxist-Leninist vocabulary following the Russian Revolution, when it was used to describe the Party Line.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politically_correct
It goes on to say, regarding its History: Use of the term then declined in the late 1990s, and it is now mostly seen in comedy or as a political slur with questionable meaning. More recently, the term has been reclaimed by a tiny subset of multiculturalist writers and speakers who are oblivious to or reject its controversial connotations and origins.

About 2/3 down the page are some Examples of language modification, such as:
* Invalid became disabled, then became handicapped, then became disabled again, then became people with disabilities (the emphasis being on "people"), then became differently abled, then became physically challenged (the current term.

* In the United States over the course of one hundred years, blacks became Negroes, then became blacks again, then became Afro-Americans, then became African-Americans (the current term). In the meantime, the term "colored" came into and went out of usage, while the related term "people of color" came into usage later on.

* Mentally handicapped became mentally challenged.

* Juvenile delinquency became children at risk.

* In 2002, the UK Labour Government advised schools to replace traditional "Sports Day" for "Problem Solving" exercises to avoid humiliation by the children's parents.

Here's a recent article that was humorous in regard to PC going too far:
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,1515134,00.html

'Brainstorming', the buzzword used by executives to generate ideas among their staff, has been deemed politically incorrect by civil servants because it is thought to be offensive to people with brain disorders.
'You do sometimes wonder if some people haven't got anything better to do with their time,' said spokesman John Wild. 'Do they just sit down and search out enough words until eventually they can say: "I can make that out to be politically incorrect"?


--Marcia (with a bit of idle time on her hands) Happy

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I have to dispute this

In reply to: Taking a look at *Politically Correct* in history

While it's true that ''politically correct'' comes from the Soviet Union I remember distinctly seeing the phrase used unironically in the Village Voice in the 80's to lambast works of art (plays and novels) that were not sufficiently liberal in their outlook.

I remember a very liberal colleague once tellng a black friend of mine that he should not read anything by Ayn Rand because she was not politically correct, since she didn't have black characters or address the plight of black people. I have a feeling most of the liberals who used the phrase weren't aware of its Soviet lineage.

It was only later that conservatives picked up on the phrase to mock the liberal attitudes we now know as PC.

I'm not going to do the research, but I am sure a search through Village Voice archives would uncover many references.

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Reminds me of a recent story

In reply to: I have to dispute this

About a bust made via CT scans of Kint Tut. They made the whole thing white (cream colored to my eyes). It wasnt long before black acivists were claiming this was a distortion of the facts, that it was conspirational, that this was an attempt to rob them of their heritage and so forth.

I think this is political correctness taken to an extreme.

BTW, I think most of our current-day political correctness is tied to a certain person. Ill not go into it, again, because Ive done it several times, already.:)

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PC in the 80's and earlier

In reply to: I have to dispute this

Yes, it appears from that same piece that it has been around off and on for some time.

The term was transformed and used jokingly within the left by the early 1980s, possibly earlier, to describe either an over-commitment to various left-wing political causes, especially within Marxism or the feminist movement; or a tendency by some of those dedicated to these causes to be more concerned with rhetoric and vocabulary than with substance. So on the left the term was primarily used to mockingly dismiss their own more doctrinaire and zealous allies.[\b]

The earliest cited usage of the term was in 1793. The earliest recorded use in the twentieth century was in 1912.

I guess folks have been fussin' about this stuff for a long, long time Wink

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I agree with you Ed. Though the heavens may fall !

In reply to: I have to dispute this

I remember "politically correct" usage appearing in radical circles in the very early 70's first around issues concerning black Americans and then around women's issues and later spreading to a host of "people of color, women's, and the third world" issues. The term emerged as Ed says in a non-ironic context though in a relatively small community nation wide who were somewhat knowledgeable about Marxist theory, but was adopted by the Conservative cause as a handy issue with which to alienate the populace at large from the Liberal majority view at the end of the 1970's. It was never to my knowledge used by Reagan though it would have appealed to him IMO and only emerged in Conservative parlance in the late 80's about 8 to 10 yrs after its adoption by the radical crowd.

In my experience you could define Liberal from Radical by their espousal of Political Correctness in the 20 years from 1970 to 1990 though some liberals (especially women for some reason [in my experience])did get sucked in. Liberals were concerned about the issues but found the rhetoric both foolish and a crude characterization no better than old racist speech.

That's how I experienced it anyway. I always hated it because it made cartoons of real issues.

Rob

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I don't know why it's so hard to agree with me...

In reply to: I agree with you Ed. Though the heavens may fall !

Since I'm usually right. I think the problem is that some of us just got stuck in the 60s and 70s lefty mindset while others examined the contradictions and woke up and grew up.

But there's hope. Many good treatments for socialist diseases these days.

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What are they saying here?

In reply to: Taking a look at *Politically Correct* in history

'Brainstorming', the buzzword used by executives to generate ideas among their staff, has been deemed politically incorrect by civil servants because it is thought to be offensive to people with brain disorders.

Does that mean civil servants have brain disorders? That seems offensive to me.
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(NT) (NT) LOL! Anybody who thinks that -- well never mind :)

In reply to: What are they saying here?

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(NT) (NT) Sometimes it comes back to bite them in the ****, huh?;)

In reply to: What are they saying here?

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harassment...

In reply to: Taking a look at *Politically Correct* in history

I remember when it became socially/politically correct to pronounce the subject word as ''har es ment'' rather than the previous pronounciation of ''ha rass ment''

At the same time the meaning changed. The former meaning was "You are doing something to me that I don't like. Stop it." The new meaning was "That other person over there is doing something that the rest of us have decided you shouldn't like. We'll go make him stop oppressing you."

dw

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i always pronounced it herassment

In reply to: harassment...

as in "she wanted to say no, but herassment otherwise"

Happy

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that's because

In reply to: i always pronounced it herassment

lol, she must have said that only because you were wearing MKay's briefs...

dw

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