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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

CAROLINE REN
Editor in Chief

With the regular reinforcement of certain ideas throughout our lives, it becomes easy to feel self-righteous or defensive when anyone opposes these concepts. Yet each and every one of us must repeatedly examine what we say and do to consider whether we are perpetuating harmful standards, especially if someone has more personal experience in a matter. For instance, an individual without a disability does not have the right to dictate what is or is not offensive to someone who has a disability; the former should listen attentively to the latter if something the former has said or done is problematic. This concept extends to other areas in which a majority has historically silenced the voices of the minority, including gender, sexuality and ethnicity/race.

“Political correctness” carries a negative connotation and it is true that it can sometimes impede honest discussion about very real issues that need to be addressed—but that doesn’t mean that there is no merit to being careful about what we say. We cannot call ourselves proponents of equality if we degrade other minority groups and refuse to fix poor behavior or apologize even after being informed that we were wrong.

If someone tries to correct our offensive or harmful language, we need to understand that they are addressing our actions, not attacking us personally, and we should constantly try to be open-minded. After all, a stronger sense of community and our progress as a society can only be forged once we start listening to each other, in earnest.

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