Watch every word that spills from your mouth, and beware of any thoughts that fly through your head. Political correctness is on patrol.
Dakota Ary, a 14-year-old high school student, sat in German class at his public school in Fort Worth, Texas, while students and the teacher discussed the perception of homosexuality in Germany. Ary then turned to a friend, and said he was a Christian and thinks “being a homosexual is wrong.” Ary was sent to the principal’s office and given in-school suspension for his words against homosexuality according to FoxNews.com.
Since when did voicing your opinions come with a penalty? The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights reads: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Ary didn’t harass or threaten anyone — he simply stated what he believes. I don’t agree with his opinion, but I support his right to say it peacefully. Articulating ideas without fear of repercussion is the only healthy means of discussion.
Our culture has become too sensitive. The notion of political correctness dominates conversation, and many of us watch every word we say to avoid offending anyone. We fear people will conclude we’re biased toward a race, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristic. If someone says anything “amiss,” many will label him as a racist, a bigot or close-minded. Anything considered inflammatory to anyone is off-limits.
The tradition of being politically correct began as the American promise of equality came closer to reality. While we added more ingredients to the melting pot, we wanted to make sure not to polarize those who were once scorned. So people watched what they said. And watched. And watched. Political correctness has been fermenting for years, and here we are today. Every word is scrutinized for a hidden prejudice.
Even the media has fallen victim. I once worked for a publication that didn’t allow me to write in a crime article that a man was white. This man was sought by police and still on the loose. The color of his skin was included in a description with his height and weight, so the public could try to identify him if spotted. It’s a raging case of being politically correct.
Though we must act respectfully when we present and hear opinions, this politically-correct craze has gone too far. It’s ridiculous to censor our thoughts when expressed calmly. How could the school system punish Ary for saying what he believes? A school is meant to be a scholastic haven, not an institution discouraging free thought. Political correctness is the tool of dictatorships.
America represents the freedom to exchange ideas without fear of punishment. I may not agree with someone’s opinion, but I want to be able to say so without reparation. When we tone down our freedom of speech and ability to discuss, we tear the Constitution. This is America. We can say whatever we want.
— Adina Solomon is a junior from Atlanta majoring in journalism