BY MEREDITH KRESS
PERSPECTIVE

 

Disclaimer: I actually found this article very difficult to write because I was worried that I might offend people… #caseclosed

According to Merriam-Webster, to be politically correct is to agree “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.”

Political correctness most often addresses topics such as race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, but it can refer to anything that makes people different from one another.  

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.35.59 AMClearly, the intention of being politically correct is morally just. However, the ways in which society handles political correctness, especially in the millennial generation, is potentially harmful because, although political correctness initially came from a place of respect, it now seems to stem from a place of fear.

Being respectful of all humans and thinking before speaking is one thing (and obviously a good thing), but feeling overly concerned with how our language and behavior will affect others limits our ability to speak freely and express opinions about certain issues, which in turn limits the opportunity for new knowledge and ideas.

So, I’ll be the one to break it to you – the millennial generation is overly sensitive and easily offended, which contributes directly to our obsession with being politically correct.

In fact, many college campuses have actually banned material or educational opportunities that make students feel uncomfortable in hopes of creating so-called ‘safe spaces’ where students are protected from words, ideas and conversations that threaten their hypersensitive feelings.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.36.59 AM

But isn’t the entire point of college to learn and grow, be challenged in our beliefs and accumulate a better understanding of our surrounding environment? How can we achieve that without exposure to what makes us uncomfortable?

Our generation is so focused on sparing feelings and avoiding controversy that we fear expressing our opinions or taking stances on serious issues. By neglecting to voice these thoughts, we also forgo the opportunity of hearing the opinions of others and learning something new.

The millennial generation allows feelings to stand in the way of change. We are politically correct to the point that it hurts our future. We are having walk outs and sit ins, hunger strikes and debates – and for what? To spare our emotions and overprotected points of view?

We shouldn’t sacrifice sharing our thoughts just because we want to be politically correct. Share your ideas, challenge your beliefs and hear what others have to say. Trust me, it is possible to do all these things and still be politically correct – educate yourself, don’t be ignorant and respect ideas that may differ from your own.

Embrace what makes you uncomfortable. Learn about it. It’ll make you a better leader of tomorrow. Heck, it’ll make you a better human of today.