It’s been a while, so I’ll start easy, with familiar territory … a big bad B word that we love and hate. But before we get to exploring the intricacies of the question you raised of how to observe with precision without being mean, lets begin with discussing a pressing divide in the discussion surrounding political correctness. But even before then, as scarily difficult as it was to write the two sentences above, it’s nice to be back on a no concentrate diet.
This divide I eluded to earlier separates the people in the game of democratic politics, and the average citizen participating in the socio-economic framework of a free market society. The former deals with political correctness as a set of rules to a game, to please the masses, to not get caught in a bad sound bite, and ultimately to collect delicious votes when the time comes. The rules of what is PC and what isn’t may change through time, but in the world of politics, it will always continue to be a game of whoring to the populous and not offending a large demographic voter base. The latter part of the divide is far more fascinating. It involves how the average citizen interacts with the rest of society and the inner-workings between the marginalized and privileged. Part one of this video on the philosophy of South Park perfectly articulates this. A theme in the video that I think is central to the component of PC culture is inclusiveness. The point he makes is that false inclusiveness of PC culture only provides a means to appeal to more demographics, and also to shed a sense of guilt of the privileged, rather than to actually include and solve underlying problems. A quote from South Park itself:
“What is political correctness but a verbal form of gentrification, spruce everything up, get rid of all the ugliness in order to create a false sense of paradise”
While I think fundamentally this is true for the current state of our Western populous, what it doesn’t take into account, is the benefit of that this false inclusiveness will have for generations to come. Although it may not solve the underlying problems of marginalized populations, and even if PC culture is a hot commodity to market to the privileged, what currently is a token inclusion, will end up being a normal occurrence. Although the change is ugly, at least it’s change, and for the same reasons that people stereotype to begin with, if the norm is inclusive, the stereotype will be too.