Political correctness debate worth having

Elijah Anderson

In all my Halloween adventures this year I was happily impressed and only moderately flabbergasted by Georgia Southern’s student body. I witnessed a number of creatively witty costumes that took far too much time and money than I would ever be willing to donate to such a frivolous holiday. Nevertheless, it seemed our school had a fantastic time celebrating this overtly sexualized and overhyped festivity.

Each year, however, the headline hunting media networks utilize Halloween for an entirely different, dare I say, ethically questionable purpose. Rather than filling their pillow cases with delectable sweets, our “unbiased” media tends to highlight and point out the most insensitive and offensive costumes they can find. Whether this is to stir up tensions for viewership, or to simply fill airtime, one thing remains to be true: we live in a politically correct culture that demands conformance.  But what is political correctness and when does it go too far?

The most inappropriate “costumes” I managed to stumble across this year included teenagers and adults dressing up as Trayvon Martin with blackface, skittles and Arizona sweet tea included as well as a woman who dressed up as a victim of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack.  In my opinion, this is when a political correctness debate is appropriate. The individuals who choose to employ such costumes are ignorant and as a society, we should strive to combat such distasteful behavior, but how?

Explicit racism and intentional insensitivity have no place in our society, but neither does the incessant public shaming and abuse that these individuals received. For instance, shortly after posting a picture of her classless Boston Marathon victim costume, Alicia Ann Lynch and her parents received death threats, she was fired from her job and received countless harassing tweets and calls demanding she “kill herself” and “go to hell.” Her life has literally been ruined by an undeniably bad decision she made, but is this not counterintuitive?

In our attempts to modify undesirable behavior we should not stoop to the base levels of humanity exemplified by our misguided brethren. Resorting to death threats and cyber-bullying is no way to address bigotry and this is how our politically correct society goes too far.

More or less we should all employ the old adage “do onto others as you would have them do onto you,” and let that serve as the principle that guides our interactions in society. To be explicitly racist or insensitive is unacceptable behavior, but we should all remember that in attempting to correct ignorance and hate we must practice wisdom and love.  This is the only way to achieve the ends that political correctness strives for.