I just got into a debate with a friend of mine and it drives me crazy sometimes!

Help me out so I do not get so flustered all the time.  Especially when the topic of religion comes into play.

Do you think being politically correct is a good practice or is it detrimental? Why?

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Being politically correct is good for arguments and conversations with those you are not a friend of. Amongst friends and comedy, it is pointless. People will already know your stance, so speaking by an unwritten law is just being fake.
Yeah totally touch and go.
Being politically correct serves only to not offend a majority of people. As Nelson mentioned, it really depends on the situation. Being politically correct when candor and critical inquiry is required does no one any favors other than to spare the feelings of someone too married to an idea than is healthy for them.

If someone wants you to coddle their beliefs and treat certain ideas with kid gloves, then they need to grow up and grow a pair (<--NOT politically correct!). If you are unnecessarily bashing them for their beliefs in unprovoked attacks, then a measure of restraint and more politeness should be exercised on your part. But you can't be expected to never offend people. Philip Pullman has a great response in the video below about people who feel they have the right to never be offended.

Wow, that video is all I needed to see!
I believe it depends on the situation...don't let it stop you from expressing yourself, but don't become ignorant either.
Saying you dont support gay marriage is NOT politiclly incorrect. Giving a non-inflammatory non-abusive opinion on an emerging human right is not politically incorrect. Perhaps in twenty years it will be. Consider the idea that someone now says "black people should sit at the back of the bus". That phrase would have been nasty but not politically incorrect as equality (at least under the law) was emerging. Now that the fundamental principle is established (though hardly well implemented) it is totally politically incorrect. Saying " those faggots will spend their honeymoon in hell"...would be politically incorrect. Thats abusive and/or inflmatory. In time...all negative comments towards gay marriage may become politically incorrect. In the meantime shaming people and shutting them up for expressing their view in a non-hostile hate filled abusive inflammatory way, is a form of intellectual and social fascism.

When we critique religion (rather than religious people) we aren't critiquing an oppressed or marginalised people. We are critiquing their ideas. Giving a non-hostile critique of religion is absolutely not politically incorrect. As for screaming "Christians are deluded morons who contaminate the world with their brain virus" is considered politically incorrect by one extreme end of the spectrum when dealing with this grey zone (they claim all hostile abusive critiques as politically incorrect) and on the other side of the spectrum it is not politically incorrect (all ideas can be lampooned, criticised, parodied and insulted as it is the idea being attacked, not marginalised groups). If they are a marginalised people (like Jewish communities in Iran) then we enter deeply into a grey zone.

I personally think all ideas are free game while hostility towards marginalised people, especially if it inspires hate, is destructive and even dangerous.

A new movement "pejoratively called the regressive" left have taken PC to an absurd extreme with the terms microagressions, safe spaces and trigger warnings. These warp PC to the breaking point where there is no grey zone nor progressive maliability and transition time. Critique of all world views (especially sincerely held belief) are considered no go zones, where perceived slights against marginalised groups are taken as microagression from a privelaged group towards a marginalised one (for instance a man holding open a door for a woman, appropriating cultural practices or artifacts of a marginalised culture without understanding or recognising their source and its history). Examples include whites wearing dreadlocks, having a Mexican themed party with sombreros and tequila, turning accupuncture into empirical western medicine. Doing these things imply an imbedded hostility to marginalised groups, according to them at least.

Safe spaces are zones (usually in schools/universities) where people are free from political incorrectness as well as having their (usually radical) ideas critiqued. If one becomes overwealmed or injured by another student who disagrees with affirmative action or religious ideas, they can run there, speak with councilors and support one another. These spaces really do exist on campuses. The final extreme example is trigger warnings. If someone has suffered a traumatic experience involving racism, homophobia, sexism, sexual assault etc, they should receive trigger warnings ahead of time that content in a class or discussion will deal with that topic. The idea is that student can run away from class to the safe space before the class deals with the topic (even if the topic is anti-racism or the criticism sexist behaviour) to avoid reliving that trauma. While it is understandable to a degree (especially those who have dealt with sexual violation), that a student should not have to deal with difficult thematic material in a class but be shielded from it and not learn the history of it, practise of it and critique against it, is highly questionable.

I see it as a fight between the social importance of being included as a member of the human race vs the right to speak freely. Both are important, the line is thin.


I hope this isn’t too much of a digression from the conversation, but I have a quick note on your words on microaggressions: they are not "perceived," they are real. This article from Everday Feminism does a good job of explaining it:
The main takeaway: sure, the comments/actions that classify as microaggressions may not have been intended to offend, but the point is that someone from a marginalized group has been made to feel that they are lesser than their privileged peers because of their race, gender, etc.
Personal example: a superior at my last job gave me a task to do that involved simple math, then asked, "Can you handle that?" He may not have been deliberately saying, "Women suck at math," but that didn't mean it didn't hurt or have sexist undertones.
Otherwise, I agree with what you're saying. There's a grey area when it comes to PC; people shouldn't have to censor their opinions, but at the same time you shouldn't abuse your right to free speech by using it to harm marginalized groups. The point of pointing out microaggressions isn’t to say, “You’re not allowed to say anything about black people/women/LGBTQ people/etc., ever,” but to teach others about how their words can be hurtful if they’re not careful, and how a lot of us (minorities included), even if we have good intentions, can have internalized racist/sexist/etc. messages and may accidentally spew them out from time to time.


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