Political correctness means being all-inclusive in your language and using acceptable terminology. Being politically correct is often confused with being diplomatic, but there is a world of difference between the two. A politically correct person never offends or excludes a person or a group from his speech. Use of exclusionist language can make you sound politically incorrect and may offend the sensitivities of others. Therefore, you need to take due care when speaking in front of a social or cultural group or in the professional arena. To know more on how to be politically correct, check out the following lines.
Tips For Being Politically Correct
Avoid Derogatory Expressions
It is important to note that offensive expressions or language can insult people. Sensitive people may not be able to take such things sportingly. Expressions such as "handicapped" or "retarded" with regard to someone’s physical or mental disabilities belittle that person and hurt his/her feelings. A person cannot be characterized or defined by his/her disabilities. In certain professional settings, it may even be unlawful to do so. Address disabled people like you would address anybody else, using the same terms.
Eschew Jokes That Conform To Stereotypes
One needs to categorically avoid cracking jokes that conform to racial, ethnic or gender stereotypes. Making stereotypical comments is a horrible thing to do and can really cost you dear. Express yourself the way a well-mannered and educated person would do. Do not hurt people by typecasting your conceptions about them. Such humor is usually considered distasteful and prosaic and can make others feels highly uncomfortable, even if they don’t belong to the target group on which the joke is intended.
Shun Gendered Or Sexist Comments
There is an increasing awareness about gender-neutrality and feminism is making long strides, affecting the life of all the people, especially women. Disregard for women and gendered comments can be highly offensive, even if the intention is not to upset anyone. You need to take special care at the work place or even at home, not to feel anyone let down by making sexist remarks or devaluing women. You need to truly acknowledge that women have come a long way and both the sexes are equal. Try to remain gender-neutral by using words like ‘chairperson’ instead of ‘chairman’, and so on.
Avoid Use Of Religious Terms
Religious terms should not be used while speaking to a group of people, for it might include people belonging to different religion. People are very sensitive about their religious beliefs and even the most un-intentional reference to a certain religion may be understood as disregard towards it. Therefore, you need to be very cautious while speaking on religion. In fact it would be advisable to avoid such discussions altogether.
Don’t Personalize Official Communications
There is absolutely no need to add a personal tinge to you office e-mails, memos etc, by making them humorous or including some non-official comments. It may offend people and convey wrong intentions. Besides, it is also a highly unprofessional thing to do.