Commentary

There’s nothing wrong with being politically correct

Jenkinson investigated instances of censorship and book banning across the U.S., and he found a number of reasons individuals and organizations cited when challenging school and public library books and other curricular materials. Among the most often used justification included: “Any assignments that encourage or teach critical thinking skills.”

A basic tenet in critical multiculturalism and social justice education is social reconstructionist or transformational education in which the educator’s role is to help prepare future citizens to reconstruct society to better serve the interests of all groups of people, and to transform society toward greater equity for all.

In my teaching, I require students to justify and backup all of their thoughts and “opinions.” Opinions without justification are just that – opinions. Stephen Brookfield discusses three inter-related phases in the process of critical thinking: discovering the assumptions that guide our decisions, actions, and choices (What do I think and why do I think of it the way I do?); checking the accuracy of these assumptions by exploring as many different perspectives, viewpoints, and sources as possible (Talking with others, taking courses, reading, researching, etc.); and taking informed decisions based on these researched assumptions (Informed decisions are based on evidence we can trust, can be explained to others, and have a good chance of achieving the effects we want).

Those who automatically throw “political correctness” into the debate, however, often do so because they lack the facts, the specificities, or the nuances of any given topic under discussion. I proudly embrace the acronym “PC,” and I hope that I practice the skill of treating all people with Proper Courtesy. Other than that, I realize that when people use the terms “political correctness” or “politically correct” in their arguments, they have lost the debate because they do not have the facts.

Therefore, no person can intimidate me when they toss these epithets in my face.

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