Political correctness.. necessary to protect people, or is it totalitarian censorship?

I have seen two viewpoints. One being that political correctness is necessary to prevent people from being overly vocal to the point of being offensive, and the other that it is totalitarian style censorship that infringes on our free speech.

I personally find it ridiculous, because not voicing one’s opinions, even when controversial, does not change that person’s opinion and just creates hostility and anger.

Sorry, that’s a false dichotomy: there is nothing “totalitarian” about it. There are rules in any plural democracy to allow it to run smoothly and so that no one section of society gets a bum deal - e.g. murder is against the law, as is cheating on your taxes, as is discriminating against someone based on his/her skin colour/race/religion etc. This myth of unfettered ‘freedom and liberty’ is precisely that: a myth.

And no one’s saying you can’t voice controversial opinions - but, as with most things in life, don’t walk around thinking that there might not be consequences to your words and deeds - e.g. if you waltz around informing anyone who cares to listen that you intend to kill the president (free speech, right?), then you can expect a knock at the door from some burly gentlemen from the US Secret Service wishing to ask you some questions.

Political correctness is just politeness. It means not behaving like a bigoted ass.

Under what circumstances?

I mean, is it “totalitarian style censorship” if I am at a party and someone is telling a story about a “retard kike” or something and I say that’s offensive? What if I don’t say it’s offensive, I just wander off? Am I required to laugh at the joke, even if it’s not funny, to avoid creating “hostility and anger”?

Or do you mean in the workplace? Is it “totalitarian style censorship” if human resources asks a guy to quit calling the women “sweetcheeks” and “sugarbutt” or to take down the SI swimsuit pictures pinned to the wall? Does the cost of possibly creating “hostility and anger” worth more than the actual discomfort and annoyance he is calling?

My point is that you probably already agree that some “political correctness” is appropriate and that other things are ridiculous. 99% of the population agrees with that. Where we disagree is where exactly to draw the line.

Caveat: I won’t disagree that some PC is voodoo and nonsensical - e.g. where it has been cited that you can no longer call a blackboard a blackboard, under the entirely erroneous and fallacious premise that it insults black people.

I’m talking about things like sports teams at school taking everyone rather than trying out so as to not offend people, not letting kids celebrate birthdays in school because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate them, not being allowed to have signs in stores that say Merry Christmas, etc.

When has a store ever not been allowed to have signs that say Merry Christmas?

This ^^^^

You haven’t heard how now it is “Happy Holidays” or nothing? Since not everyone celebrates Christmas.

I think that’s more correctly termed, ‘positive discrimination’ and, whilst I’m not a big fan per se, I can see where there are certain circumstances where it absolutely has to apply (e.g. post-Troubles Northern Ireland, post-Apartheid South Africa etc.) merely to try and get a necessary rebalancing of the society where once it was so hopelessly skewed to only one section of that society.

Yeah, that doesn’t happen. There’s Christmas shit all over the place in stores and plenty of customers turn into raging bitches if their cashier says “Happy Holidays.” Like commercialization of Christ’s birth is a good and noble thing or something.

Oh, I’m sure someone’s gotten their knickers in a twist at being told “Merry Christmas” as well, but it goes both ways.

I must admit I’ve always found this American habit bizarre - ‘Happy Holidays’ is such a saccharine and meaningless term.

Eh, I say it at work because there are lots of holidays in the winter (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, others depending on the lunar calendar) and typically I won’t see someone again until after they’re all over with.

Nobody’s being censored in that case. A private business is making a choice to not cause offense or discomfort to their customer base.

You act as tho there is some federal mandate that no one is allowed to ever say “Merry Christmas” again, for fear of losing a business license.

That is true, I agree. But is it really a good idea to accept everyone onto a cheerleading squad, even if they cannot perform the routines and cheers and frankly don’t have the talent?

There isn’t, but it is generally discouraged nowadays and you hear vocal opposition to saying “Merry Christmas”, especially in schools.

Who isn’t allowing the use of “Merry Christmas” in stores?

When I think of totalitarianism, the first thing that comes to mind is “generally discouraging” things.

I work in a store and there is never a single sign that says Merry Christmas, and we are told not to say it to the customers because it may offend them.

Neither. It’s not necessary, but it’s not censorship.