Political correctness (often abbreviated "PC") is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and doing so to an excessive extent.
- Politically Correct’ was originally a phrase on the Leninist left to denote someone who steadfastly toed the party line. Then it evolved into ‘PC’, an ironic phrase among wised up leftists to denote someone whose line-toeing fervour was too much to bear. Only in connection with the PC debate itself did the phrase get picked up by people who had no fidelity to radicalism at all, but who relished the nasty syllables for their twist of irony.
- Paul Berman, "Intoduction", in Debating PC: The Debate over Political Correctness on College Campuses (New York 1992), p. 5.
- It is an article of passionate faith among 'politically correct' biologists and anthropologists that brain size has no connection with intelligence; that intelligence has nothing to do with genes; and that genes are probably nasty fascist things anyway.
- Richard Dawkins, in The Economist, Vol. 328 (1993)
- I am politically incorrect, that's true. Political correctness to me is just intellectual terrorism. I find that really scary, and I won't be intimidated into changing my mind. Everyone isn't going to love you all the time.
- Mel Gibson, as quoted in interview with Roald Rynning in Film Review (January 1997), p. 37
- Political correctness is tyranny with manners.
- Charlton Heston, speech at the Harvard Law School (1999), as quoted in "Appreciation : Charlton Heston" in TIME magazine (6 April 2008)
- Political correctness is one of the brilliant tools that the American Right developed in the mid-1980s, as part of its demolition of American liberalism. . . . What the sharpest thinkers on the American Right saw quickly was that by declaring war on the cultural manifestations of liberalism — by levelling the charge of "political correctness" against its exponents — they could discredit the whole political project.
- It really worries me that 84% of this audience agrees with that statement, because the kind of people that say "political correctness gone mad" are usually using that phrase as a kind of cover action to attack minorities or people that they disagree with. I'm of an age that I can see what a difference political correctness has made. When I was four years old, my grandfather drove me around Birmingham, where the Tories had just fought an election campaign saying, "if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour," and he drove me around saying, "this is where all the niggers and the coons and the jungle bunnies live." And I remember being at school in the early 80s and my teacher, when he read the register, instead of saying the name of the one asian boy in the class, he would say, "is the black spot in," right? And all these things have gradually been eroded by political correctness, which seems to me to be about an institutionalised politeness at its worst. And if there is some fallout from this, which means that someone in an office might get in trouble one day for saying something that someone was a bit unsure about because they couldn't decide whether it was sexist or homophobic or racist, it's a small price to pay for the massive benefits and improvements in the quality of life for millions of people that political correctness has made. It's a complete lie that allows the right, which basically controls media now, and national politics, to make people on the left who are concerned about the way people are represented look like killjoys. And I'm sick, I'm really sick — 84% of you in this room that have agreed with this phrase, you're like those people who turn around and go, "you know who the most oppressed minorities in Britain are? White, middle-class men." You're a bunch of idiots.
- Stewart Lee, in Heresy, BBC Radio 4 (16 May 2007)
- We'll be right back to the politically correct program called "The Good, the Bad, and the Beauty Impaired."
- The term "political correctness" has always appalled me, reminding me of Orwell's "Thought Police" and fascist regimes.
- Helmut Newton, in American Photo (January/February 2000), p. 90
- Need I remind you that Stone Mountain and Birth of a Nation are also exercises in political correctness for their time, as are the inscriptions on the monuments erected by several southern states in honor of the service of their state’s Confederate forces at Gettysburg?
- Ranting about “political correctness” is best read as “I can’t really deal with the merits of your interpretation, so I’ll deride it largely because it doesn’t reinforce my own preferences and prejudices.”
- If I could believe that this was said sincerely, I could put up with anything.
- We have now reached the point where every goon with a grievance, every bitter bigot, merely has to place the prefix, 'I know this is not politically correct, but...' in front of the usual string of insults in order to be not just safe from criticism, but actually a card, a lad, even a hero. Conversely, to talk about poverty and inequality, to draw attention to the reality that discrimination and injustice are still facts of life, is to commit the sin of political correctness. Anti-PC has become the latest cover for creeps. It is a godsend for every curmudgeon and crank, from fascists to the merely smug.
- Fintan O'Toole, The Irish Times, 5th May 1994
- Immoral (definition): Obsolete expression meaning "politically incorrect".
- Richard Summerbell, Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary (1985)