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The Culture of Political Correctness in Educational Facilities Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2021

The promotion of the culture of political correctness (PC) in educational facilities has been a controversial topic. While some suggest that it can be beneficial for creating a safe environment in which students can feel accepted, others argue that extreme levels of political correctness stifles free speech and does nothing to protect students. If to offer a personal view on this issue, it aligns with what Stephen Fry said during the Munk debate on political correctness: “my real objection is that I don’t think political correctness works”1.

The PC culture is characterized by the engagement in politics that is based on representations, values, and identities; in short, politics of culture. This means that labeling of differences plays a significant role in PC culture. In the view of Iris Marion Young, any criticism of politics of difference is unsustainable. According to the scholar, only the politics of difference can offer the opportunity of reaching a fair and public discussion of specific dissimilarities that exist between people in society.

Such differences are supported by structural inequalities and cultural conflicts based on identity politics and the wrongful recognition of others2. Young rejects politics of recognition and defines it as a means for eliminating injustices in the power and resource distribution. These injustices are based on identity politics and are linked to communities’ self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect.

In the above arguments, there is an evident presence of productive tension, which is defined by the existence of an ideal level of disagreement between viewpoints that helps in advancing mission-critical tasks and activities. The differences that represent a basis for political arguments serve as resources rather than obstructions of democratic communications. Young states that those who criticize the politics of difference wrongly reduce them to ‘identity politics’3.

However, the scholar suggests that identity politics is dissimilar to politics of difference because the former strives for solidarity through the preservation of one’s culture except when such preservation is mixed with political oppression and social intolerance. Thus, accepting the politics of difference implies considering structural social groups as more important for appealing to justice rather than cultural groups.

When speaking of the politics of recognition, Young suggested that the ideology consists “in the assertion of specificity and difference towards a wider, from whom the movement expects respect and recognition of its agency and virtue.”4 In regards to such groups, the political claims do not consist of the assertion that a social group or the identity of one person against others must be characterized by its distinct qualities. Therefore, the author defines the politics of recognition as claims against discrimination, the unequal distribution of opportunities, unfair burdens, and political marginalization5.

Once again, identity politics come into play within the context, implying the revaluation and reclaiming of identity based on both individual and collective exploration of histories, practices, movements, and meanings. Therefore, the refusal to accept the politics of recognition is concerned with accepting the positive aspects of multiculturalism, which encourages societies to accommodate, recognize, and respect the differences that exist between them.

In contrast to Young, who believes that it is better to accept the politics of difference rather than polities of recognition, the two cannot take place at the same time. As mentioned by Taylor, there is a variety of strands in modern politics that encourage the demand for recognition6. Such recognition is present in the political movements of feminism, racial justice, and multiculturalism. Great importance associated with recognition is linked to its relationships with identity, which is defined as a person’s understanding of who they are as human beings and what their key characteristics are.

A political theory of difference is rather focused on disengaging social attributes of a group from the logic of identity in multiple ways. For instance, it can be conceptualized that social group difference should lie on relational rather than substantialist logic. Also, it should be affirmed that groups do not have identities as such; rather, they develop their own identities depending on how they position themselves within the context of a social group.

In summary, Recognition politics cannot be used in conjunction with the politics of difference because there are varieties of recognition politics that do not respect human rights and thus are unacceptable despite promoting social justice. Differentiations of race, gender, ability, and other characteristics are more concerned with structural relations in society and the distribution of power. Moreover, politics of recognition, which was initially proposed by Charles Taylor, is rather an interpretation of a politics of difference. As mentioned by the author, cultural affinity and the respect for cultures’ preservation as a tool for supporting the sense of self among communities7.

Thus, Young’s perspective is considered anti-PC as the scholar celebrated the differences between people in order to reach social justice. People have their identities and occupy certain positions regarding gender, class, race, disability, and so on. It can be concluded that there is no need for unifying everyone to reach the same cultural standard; instead, differences should be accepted and used for achieving a public and real discussion.

Bibliography

” YouTube video, 2:04:24. Web.

Taylor, Charles. “Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition.” In Multiculturalism, edited by Amy Gutmann, 25-75. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995.

Young, Iris Marion. Inclusion and Democracy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Footnotes

  1. “Political Correctness Debate ft. Stephen Fry, Jordan Peterson, Michael Dyson, Michelle Goldberg,” YouTube video, 2:04:24. Web.
  2. Iris Marion Young, Inclusion and Democracy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000), 90.
  3. Young, Inclusion and Democracy, 82.
  4. Ibid., 103.
  5. Ibid., 104.
  6. Charles Taylor, “Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition,” in Multiculturalism, ed. Amy Gutmann (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 25.
  7. Charles Taylor, “Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition,” in Multiculturalism, ed. Amy Gutmann, 27.
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IvyPanda. "The Culture of Political Correctness in Educational Facilities." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-political-correctness-in-educational-facilities/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Culture of Political Correctness in Educational Facilities." June 8, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-culture-of-political-correctness-in-educational-facilities/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Culture of Political Correctness in Educational Facilities'. 8 June.

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