Name Date Class Professor Politically Correct: Correct or Unconstitutional? “Sticks and stones could break your bones, but words can never hurt you”. Many grew up listening to that phrase when words were used against them either by bullies in the school yard or by co-workers…
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This term is closely related to language referring to sexual orientation, race, gender, or disability. Recently however this constitutional amendment has begun to be slowly eroded by organizations and individuals who believe that being politically correct or proper overrules speaking ones opinion. It can be said that being politically correct has begun to take over individual’s right to freedom of speech. Not only is the history behind both sides important, but so is what happens to be occurring today in the United States. The first amendment was considered so important that Thomas Jefferson ensured that it was first in the constitution. The amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."1 Obviously this relates to more than speech, but with regards to this, “abridging the freedom of speech”. The origin of the statement is Thomas Jefferson believing that without free discourse, the government is too powerful compared to the ordinary citizen. Since then Supreme Court Justices have been on the forefront of upholding and/or amending what the intent and purpose of the original wording. In the 1990s the political right began to coin political correct in the context of the volatile cultural wars. Richard Bernstein believed that the term was being used as ironic and disapproval than with approval. His argument was justified by the Western Humanities Conference which was centered on “Political Correctness and Cultural Studies”.2 The main idea of the conference was how being politically correct is affecting scholarship. Professors and other academic professionals were worried that this trend may start to adversely affect education. Since 1990 the term has gone active and many organizations and government agencies began to include new guidelines regarding proper language in both written and spoken correspondence. The freedom for speech has allowed corrupt politicians to be ousted by concerned citizens where without the freedoms those citizens may have been jailed or killed for questioning officials. While speech is mostly protected under the first amendment there are certain elements of speech that are not protected due to the inflammatory nature. These are: Burning draft cards to protest a draft, words that will incite violence, words that jeopardize national security, and a newspaper publishing knowingly false and/or defamatory statements.3 Within the last decade journalists and other individuals interested in knowing the truth claim that the first amendment also applies to written records that contain information that may be useful towards a free open government. The argument towards freedom of speech versus censorship has become a highly contested topic within the last ten years. Two very important topics that are on the forefront of freedom of speech and being politically correct are; radio personalities vocalization of events, and the current censorship regarding music and video games. These three are good examples of how the fight between freedom of speech and political correctness has come to the attention to everyone in the United States. Each topic has different issues and different implications for the Supreme Court to discuss. Two recent events put radio personality’
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(“Politically Correct: Correct or Unconstitutional Term Paper”, n.d.)
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(Politically Correct: Correct or Unconstitutional Term Paper)
“Politically Correct: Correct or Unconstitutional Term Paper”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/history/1449189-has-our-country-become-to-politically-correct.
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