Today we met to finalise our plan, script, and slides for our presentation. We will meet again before the presentation in order to solidify our execution of the presentation.
As we further finalise our presentation, we find that there are many arguments in favour of freedom of speech and in favour of political correctness; however, many of the ideas merge into one another and share similarities in their rhetoric. While these concepts are often seen as being at odds with one another, we are realising how often they go hand in hand. One cannot truly be without the other.
Delving deeper and deeper into the issue is a strong reminder of the fact that nothing is completely black and white; we live in a world of colour. There is a great deal of nuance and, in our conclusion, we highlight the reality of the coexistence of these concepts (political correctness and freedom of speech).
We have met up today as a group and discussed our parts of the presentation. Leeyan and Ishani will be presenting the argument on the side of freedom of expression, while Yuxin and I will be presenting our arguments on the side of political correctness. We have created an outline that encompasses our entire presentation, including topics, timing, and source materials.
I noticed last week that all of the members of our group are of Asian descent and, because of that, we can all incorporate our experiences and ideologies that stem from each of our countries (China, Saudi Arabia, India, and Pakistan). It will be interesting to explore the differences between Western and Eastern definitions/stances on freedom of expression and political correctness. The values of each country greatly affect how they treat these issues and through what lens they are perceived. Exploring this also fits perfectly into our theme of ‘uncertainty’ as it is apparent that context, history, and location play an enormous role in determining how pc culture and expression are valued and implemented by these diverse societies.
Over the reading week, there were lots of discussions I had with people on their opinions on political correctness. What was interesting to me was the idea that some felt that political correctness goes too far, or asks too much, especially looking at it through the scope of legality and morality.
One example cited was that of Canada law that fines those who misgender individuals who identify out of the binary of male/female. It grants protection for transgender individuals and seeks to level the discrimination that is faced by members of the trans community. Critics of the issue will claim that such a bill infringes upon freedom of speech or could possibly criminalise those who make mistakes, etc., and be a danger to ‘women only’ spaces. However, these ideas have all been debunked as there is clear language in the bill that indicates that only those who misgender people in a deliberate attempt to undermine or degrade those individuals will be the ones who are prosecuted, and that ‘trans women are women’, therefore they are not a danger to ‘women only’ spaces. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/canadian-lawmakers-pass-bill-extending-transgender-protections-n773421
These answer to these criticisms, I believe, speaks to a wider defence in favour of political correctness. Leeyan makes an interesting point about whether or not language should or could be policed. However, oftentimes these measures are set in place in order to protect rather than infringe. Also, it is not meant as a way to catch someone out; rather it is a tool that seeks to create equal and fair treatment and recognition of those who are marginalised
It is understandable that those against politically correct language are so because of fear over how our freedom of expression will be limited as our words will constantly be wrong or ‘offensive’. However, going back to my previous point, politically correct language does not outright seek to coerce people into restrictive boxes of what they are allowed to say or feel. It is a tool for the marginalised to feel less alienated or discriminated against. Those who have historically and socially been ostracised or forgotten about and wish to be equalised are those who are benefitting; and not because they wish to force people to agree with them, but simply because they wish to be granted the same amount of respect that those who are not of the marginalised minority are granted.
In our past meeting, we discussed our ideas pertaining to ‘uncertainty’ and possible topics for our presentation. Due to the fact that our group consists of Politics and English majors, we will attempt to combine the two disciplines through focus on things such as:
- language used in speeches made my political figures
- freedom of expression in modern democracy
- the power of words in (social) media
- virtue signalling
By the end of our next meeting, we hope to have chosen our topic, understand what we would like to achieve through this presentation, and have an idea of how we would like to present it.