Political correctness is the notion that we should use politically correct language, or language that isn’t consciously offending any particular section of the society, in our daily speech. This means eliminating the usage of racial slurs or sexist slangs that may have been formerly prevalent. It also incorporates using the preferred gender pronouns of an individual while addressing them.
But the eminent question is whether incorporating political correctness in your speech limits your right to free speech within a democracy?
Free speech is one of the most important facets of a democracy as it not only allows the individual to express his concerns about the society without any limit, but it also acts as a check to the functioning of the government and the accountability of the leaders to the general public. But should there be a certain limit to this free speech?
The concept of free speech has been incorporated into most of the democratic constitutions so as to expand on the rights of the individual and to create a society that is more receptive of the needs of its citizens. But creating a platform where everyone has the right to speak their mind can have some negative consequences, and I believe that political correctness curbs these negative impacts.
When a relatively privileged person uses their position in the society to restrict the rights of individuals from lesser privileged sections, then the basic foundations of a democracy are violated. When people use antiquated and offensive terminology, they are restricting the rights of the group who they are allegedly attacking.
This is why I believe that political correctness doesn’t necessarily limit the right to free speech, but instead expands on it when you look at its impact on the society as a whole. So while political correctness shouldn’t become a legal mandate, it should definitely be something that people are actively sensitive to.