Introduction: Identity Politics and Political Correctness

Identity Politics

Identity politics is a term that describes a political approach wherein people of a particular religion, race, social background, class or other identifying factor develop political agendas and organize based upon the interlocking systems of oppression that may affect their lives and come from their various identities. Identity politics centers the lived experiences of those facing various systems of oppression to better understand the ways in which racial, economic, sex-based, gender-based, and other forms of oppression are linked and to ensure that political agendas and political actions arising out of identity politics leave no one behind.

There is a very positive element to identity politics, that identity politics can be a great source of strength and unity to minority communities: they help them feel psychologically safe and secure especially when coping with life in the West. Language, culture and religion are the ways in which people also cope with the psychological stress of trauma or rapid change — refugees and migrants will band together in ethnic communities in new countries in order to stay connected to what they have lost or left behind. More and more people join the social groups which results in more authority and power. And as it is said, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The social groups formed on the basis of their particular identity now starts to diminish, cancel and supress any valid argument made against them. Now that the majority of people are on the side of these social groups related to Feminism, Gay right activism, anti-racism etc, a person having an opposing but a valid strong argument can’t place it without being called as anti-feminist, homophobic, and racist. In most cases it leads to their career being destroyed.

This whole mob mentality which evolutionized from a primary cause to help the oppressed groups, class is because of the absolute power it gets on the later stages. They think that everything they do is correct and which is horribly wrong. This whole thing of identity politics has a bad effect on the society. Forget forgiveness, something said mistakenly isn’t tolerated at all and the criticism, hate and abuse the person has to suffer is immense and eventually leaves a mark for the rest of his life.

Political Correctness

Political correctness is a term used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. The term has been used to describe a preference for inclusive language and avoidance of language or behaviour that can be seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting to groups of people disadvantaged or discriminated against, particularly groups defined by ethnicity, sex, or gender.

Political correctness makes sure we remain within societal boundaries that have been previously established. This helps us maintain the previous progress we have made regarding acceptance, equality and inclusivity. By directing people to be careful in their speech we help prevent negative polarisation and the acceptance of prejudices. This way we do not lose progress in tolerance and equality. The spread of hate crimes, extreme nationalism and prejudices can also be attributed to from lack of political correctness in politics. When people with a platform say bigoted things, the wider population sees these views as legitimate.

Political correctness restricts public debates and thinking in society and in mainstream media. This results in ‘touchy’ issues not being discussed efficiently. There is no flexibility with social boundaries. Political correctness is a form of social engineering used to silence people with ‘controversial’ ideas. Political correctness is not fixed, so what is unacceptable changes. But who gets to decide what qualifies as unacceptable? Politicians who condemn others citing political correctness (excluding ‘hate speech’ or clear examples of discrimination) are going against the principles of freedom of speech. They are silencing people according to their own standards. Some people think political correctness is a leftist plot that silences the right and removes ‘alternative politicians’ from mainstream media. Because much of the world’s views are not strictly ‘politically correct’, they are not represented. Others think that ‘The whole political correctness movement was invented by the Far Right to inhibit any meaningful discussion of diversity issues in order to keep racial, gender, and other barriers in place.