War on political correctness expands past social media

By Isabella Winkler, Columnist

The term “politically correct” has taken on a new weight recently, with its actual usage and meaning being manipulated by social media. It seems like everyone is blowing the politically correct whistle after every news story or headline airs, but their motives are justified when it comes to recent events.

In the latest instance of the war on political correctness, Curt Schilling, former All-Star pitcher and ESPN analyst, was fired this past Wednesday after the latest in a series of offensive social media posts.

His two cents on the anti-transgender North Carolina bathroom legislation ultimately cut the cord: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

This isn’t his first time showcasing his offensive opinions on social media. Between a picture comparing Muslims to Nazis and suggesting Hillary Clinton be “buried under a jail somewhere,” Schilling is no stranger to insensitivity.

Inevitably, Schilling’s unemployment brings up everyone’s favorite topic: political correctness. “To be in a place where people actually believe I’m a racist or I’m transphobic says to me that something has gone horribly askew somewhere,” he said on WEEI. As if it’s so crazy to think that a man denying an entire population of their preferred identities is maybe the least bit problematic.

His political correctness defense came in the form of trivializing his own comments: “I made a comment about the basic functionality of men’s and women’s restrooms, period,” he said.

Denying the implications of his offensive remarks places Schilling in bad company. People in the spotlight who have come under fire for similar comments employ similar tactics.

Last October former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made it clear on Twitter that he “trusts Bernie Sanders with (his) tax dollars just as much as a Korean chef with (his) dog.” When he was called out for the remark, he used the political correctness red herring to instead direct focus toward the sensitivity of leftist wussies.

If you read any comment section under nearly any article ever, you will find people talking about how frustrating it is to live in a world where you have to tiptoe around millennials’ feelings. But their fallacious thinking fails to see a middle ground: there’s a difference between being politically correct and not being a jerk.

The war against political correctness has come to a point where people go out of their ways to offend others, just to then turn the tables and blame them for getting offended. The latest chalking incidents on campus epitomize this phenomenon. When students wrote messages outside the University’s Latino cultural house such as “Build the wall” and “Send them back,” some comments on The Daily Illini’s coverage of the event included “fighting the plague of political correctness” and pitying the kids who were silly enough to feel threatened by the messages.

The chalk comments were of course reduced to simple Donald Trump support or expression of political opinions. Many ignored that the chalkers were blatantly victimizing a certain group of people, only to ridicule said group for being offended, as if the placement of the chalking was completely coincidental and the comments were a simple matter of political debate.

The paradoxical web of bigoted thinking is hard to keep up with, but the takeaway is just that — the efforts to combat the so-called “plague of political correctness” are an illogical attempt to avoid basic human compassion for whatever reason.

Unfortunately, this fight isn’t just being fought on social media. It’s being taken to places where the effects have never been so obvious. When students with real feelings are being affected by the threatening messages or a marginalized demographic is being targeted via legislation, the problem becomes greater than political correctness.

Being politically correct isn’t about silencing opposing viewpoints. It’s about being a decent person — and at virtually no expense.

Isabella is a freshman in ACES.

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