When responding to the right’s claims of the left being too “politically correct,” the left has often mistakenly portrayed political correctness as positive, inadvertently agreeing that they are politically correct. If the right’s definition of political correctness existed, it would be undesirable for open and honest debate—but the idea of political correctness polluting liberalism is about as imaginary as Donald Trump’s presidential capabilities.
Political correctness is understood to be language measured to not offend any societal group. This language easily becomes harmful when one avoids “telling it like it is,” but that is not the case with liberals.
What conservatives will never admit is that the language they claim is suppressed will never keep the public from knowing the truth of anything, except how bigoted conservatives are. Trump has mocked a disabled reporter, flatly stated that Mexican immigrants are rapists, said that a judge was unqualified due to his Mexican heritage, and demeaned the Muslim parents of a deceased Purple Heart decorated soldier —and he’s just their leader.
When liberals avoid saying these things, they do not damage public political awareness, but improve it. Demeaning and marginalizing various groups of people is never a viable solution to national issues, and when people are told otherwise, they become less politically aware. Historically, scapegoating has always served to distract attention from the real causes of a country’s problems.
The words taken at face value can never be true, either. Stereotypes of minorities as inherently criminal, nepotistic, oppressive spouses or parents, unpatriotic— or simply as unable to be part of American culture—are by definition gross generalizations that do not belong in a fact-based political debate. One exception (and there are millions) disproves such a notion. By not being bigoted, liberals are not avoiding “telling it like it is,” they’re avoiding lying.
Political correctness accusations also show unprecedented (or un-presidented?) hypocrisy. Recently, the most visible attempts at censorship came from conservatives, and especially Trump. Hillary Clinton received massive backlash after her “deplorables” comment, where she called out Trump supporters on their prejudiced attitudes (judging from how they cheered on Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric, she was completely right). Trump insulted individuals ranging from the “Hamilton” cast to Meryl Streep after they criticized him—as one has the constitutional right to do, and which he should get used to if he plans to last a day as president. Apparently, Trump expects his opponents to tolerate his attacks, but can’t take any criticism himself without a temper tantrum that would embarrass a 5 year old.
By being what opponents call “politically correct,” liberals avoid misleading the public about those who are ultimately just as much Americans. On the other hand, conservatives don’t only lie to the people, but to themselves about having the moral high ground.