In the commentary of today's works we always speak of "politically correct", but the discourse is more complex. We are talking about representation and respect, but also about quotas and tokenism and, above all, about the true meaning of "politically correct".

Everywhere you turn, in every thread you comment, there is the term "politically correct". It is used to refer to anything, rather indiscriminately.

A word that is like parsley!

We didn't just see it in the comments to our article on the use ofasterisk in role-playing game, where it made sense to exist, but also in the responses to several of our articles.
Da Ariel black to the theme of rape in role-playing games, the politically correct (or politically correct) is always the wild card to be included in the comments. Some imaginative columnist (to whom I will not give visibility!) Has well thought of talking about "politically correct" also with regard to new translation de The Fellowship of the Ring, in one of the famous pre-reading comments.

"Politically correct" is used to refer to the inclusion in the works of black characters or members of the queer community, as often seen in the live-action comments of the Disney classics. (Perhaps with the exception of Aladdin and Il re leone?) But we talk about "politically correct" also to refer to the famous genderfluid elves of D&D, or about Paizo's choice to replace the ancestry to the "races" in Pathfinder Second Edition. Or you shout "politically correct" in response to the request to do attention to strong issues in the RPGs. But it is politically correct also do an event for master women, according to some.

In short, the politically correct enters everywhere and in all sauces. Generally, however, it is a term used in a manner derogatory. It is used in an often not particularly correct way (sorry for the pun, there will be many).
Let's see how and why we can't always talk about politically correct for anything that bothers us. But first, let's find out what it is de facto the politically correct and why the marketing maneuvers of certain manufacturers should be called in other ways.

Politically correct: a definition

To define what this phantom is politically correct, I will refer to two definitions that I consider particularly significant. And made by two completely different people from each other.
The first, contained inEncyclopedia of Italian of Treccani, is of Rita Fresu, professor of Italian linguistics at the University of Catania. The second, however, is of Immanuel Casto, artist and game designer known for being politically incorrect.

One of the interesting publications of Rita Fresu
One of the interesting publications of Rita Fresu

A historical definition: Rita Fresu's politically correct (2011)

I will not report here the entire article by Rita Fresu, but I warmly invite you to read it all at this link. The article, in fact, is full of examples useful for understanding and highlights the hypocrisy of certain uses of politically correct.
Fresu first outlines the origins United States of politically correct, then moving on to analyze them uses in Italy. Finally, Fresu concludes with an excursus on Recommendations for non-sexist use of the Italian language by Alma Sabatini, from 1986.
Here we are especially interested in reporting some particularly interesting passages. Bold is always mine.

Politically correct in the United States

The Anglo-American expression politically correct (in ital. politically correct) designates an ideological and cultural orientation of extreme respect towards all, in which that is any potential offense towards certain categories of people is avoided. According to this orientation, the opinions expressed must appear to be exempt, in linguistic form and in substance, from racial, ethnic, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation or relative to a person's physical or mental disabilities.

Attention to these issues originated in the United States of America, from where it spread to the rest of the western world. Born in the circles of the left in the thirties of the twentieth century, amplified by the movements of the sixties and adopted by the liberal and radical orientations, it assumed significant dimensions in the late eighties, when it became a current of opinion based on the recognition of the rights of cultures and aimed at eradicate from customs linguistic uses deemed offensive towards any minority (it was then, e.g., that African-american He replaced blacknigga e black to designate the blacks of America).

Problems of the politically correct: linguistic conformity and intervention on the form rather than on the substance of the problem?

Despite the egalitarian and progressive ideals that animated it, the politically correct raised many controversies (see Fabbri 2004; Canobbio 2009). Indeed, he is accused of linguistic conformism and ideological tyranny which limits freedom of expression. It is argued that, under the pretext of claiming ideals of social justice, the politically correct is actually limited to intervene on the form (ie the language) rather than on the substance of the problems, helping to feed a new one institutional hypocrisy (Canobbio 2009: 39). The linguistic choices imposed often represent an ennobled version of the euphemism that tends to hide unpleasant contents; […].

Those who, instead, adopt the ideological assumptions of politically correct reaffirms the intent of this orientation of establish preliminary rules for a civil discussion of problems, without pretending to solve them (Colombo 2005).

The politically correct Italian: applications and problems

In Italy, although politically correct has not reached the level of regulatory obligation, it has nevertheless caused a general change in linguistic sensitivity and contributed to codifying collective styles of linguistic behavior, in some cases even fading into interdiction (Canobbio 2009). [...]

In some specific areas, the revision of certain denominations has therefore been developed. [...]
However, such designations often provoke reserves and refusals by the interested parties, which perceive them as signs of a linguistic hypocrisy behind which, rather, the disinterest of the protection bodies is hidden.
These expressions are also considered even more discriminating because they are normally adopted without the categories themselves being consulted.

Immanuel Casto on the cover of his poorly politically correct album, Deepthorat Revolution
Immanuel Casto on the cover of his little politically correct album, Deepthroat Revolution

A definition of intent and applications: Immanuel Casto's politically correct

Although it is not, nor does it claim to be an encyclopedic definition with sources, I personally find that Immanuel Casto here I am focusing the matter very well.

For the uninitiated, Casto is both a singer and a game designer of board games, among which the card game is particularly famous Squillo. Both in his musical career and in his playful one, Casto is a champion of politically incorrect, addressing delicate issues in an irreverent way. However, it must be emphasized that Casto's attitude is always accompanied by awareness and the desire not to trivialize the issues addressed. And if the author succeeds, it is not for me to say.
So let's see what he has to say about politically correct the author of songs such as Deepthroat Revolution. Since this is shorter than Fresu's speech post on Facebook, dated 10/10/2018, will be reported in full. Here too, the bold is mine.

Political correctness and respect: attitude VS value

In this period there is much discussion about the so-called 'political correctness', which does not aim to discern between what is true and what is false, but between what can be said and what cannot be said.

But what is this 'political correctness'?
Politically correct is any expression, manifestation or line of thought that takes into account the respect and sensitivity of all, but in particular of socially weak categories.

All very noble, but then where is the problem?
It lies in the fact that political correctness is an attitude and not a value.
The value is the respect.
It is a set of unwritten rules (ex: do not say 'neg * or' but 'black') and measures to protect that value. It is a tool, and like all tools it can be used for better or for worse.

The degenerations of the politically correct: denying the differences, not facing uncomfortable and clickbait problems

The problem lies not in the political correctness itself, but in its obtuse, bovine and persecutory application.
It is in its possible degenerations.
The most common is that to say that one should not discriminate on the basis of differences, translates into denying that such differences exist. When, on the other hand, they are a heritage to be enhanced.
A (fake) progressive version of Puritanism, in which, in order not to tackle uncomfortable topics, the words that describe them are prohibited.

Another is the tendency to replace the judicial process with the media one, where there is only room for emotion and the accusation is already valid as evidence, deliberation and condemnation.
Trend happily accepted by current journalism, interested only in clickbait.
Too often we see articles shared to propose a debate on very delicate subjects, whose titles are completely misleading with respect to the news itself.

The difference between criticizing the misuse of the tool and contesting respect for others

As you may have guessed, I am far from being a fanatic of political correctness, but I would also like to point out that, in itself, an attitude of concern for the sensitivity of others is very commendable.
In the name of political correctness, real injustices can be committed, but let's not rush to the opposite side en masse to say that it is wrong by definition.
It would be an incorrect generalization.
Its degenerations are wrong.

When we hear someone say "enough with political correctness!", We try to understand if you dispute (as I do) that misuse of the tool we see every daythe if, on the other hand, it disputes the value that the instrument intends to protect.
That is, if what he really means is "enough for mutual respect!".
They are two very different things.

A question of "who proposes it": the politically correct of the minorities VS the politically correct of all the others

Especially from Fresu's speech, two issues clearly emerge.
First, that the politically correct was initially requested by people who are part of oppressed minoritieswhich therefore required more respect. Secondly, that subsequently the politically correct was also used, applied and imposed by people external to these minorities. On the one hand, these outsiders arrogated to themselves the right to extend these policies to minorities who had not requested them, and on the other hand they reduced their efforts to address the problems of these minorities to mere linguistic effort.
From these two questions, taking up Immanuel Casto's speech on respect, we can make some considerations.

Politically correct and civil rights struggle in a Singer streak
Politically correct and civil rights struggle in a Singer streak

Politically correct as respect

Some oppressed minorities, such as African Americans or the LGBT + community, have asked to receive respect also from a linguistic point of view.

A respectful language to create a field of dialogue

As we well know, in fact, language is an important tool for every human community, and like any tool, language can also be used to harm others. If some people are called, in everyday speech, with terms that are explicitly offensive, then these people will have to live in a society that tells them every day that it hates them, that considers them sub-humans, that will never accept them as members. to all effects.
This hostility, which also manifests itself on a linguistic level, it does not help to create a field of dialogue in which everyone can feel comfortable. On the contrary, as we see with hate speech, offensive appellations tend to destroy the terrain of dialogue, because they make it clear that one side considers the other unworthy to carry on a conversation.

Therefore, the politically correct understood as respect for the sensibility and dignity of others is important for the creation and maintenance of a fair and respectful society.

To each minority, its strategy

Furthermore, this politically correct is further important when required by minorities who see their dignity trampled by continuous abuse or micro-aggression. This is why it is important to listen to the requests of black communities (African American, Afro-Italian and so on) when they ask that they be spoken of without using degrading terms (such as "black * ro"), alienating (such as the everlasting "exotic") or otherwise. disrespectful way.
For the same reason, it is important to listen to queer communities when asking not to use certain terms (such as "fr * cio", "fagot", and the like) or not to refer to their people in certain ways (such as calling trans women "transvestite men", we talked about it Thu e Thu).


We also take into account the fact that not all communities or people within a community face verbal abuse equally. While some communities tend to reject certain derogatory terms very much (as in the case of people with mental illness, who generally reject the use of terms like "crazy"), other communities or people tend to adopt other strategies.
For example, in the African American community and in the queer community there is sometimes a tendency to make certain derogatory terms its own with which it is called (such as, in fact, "ne * ro" or "fr * cio"). In this way, these terms are taken away from their attackers, as they are deprived of their negative meaning.
However, it must be emphasized that this appropriation of insults must be done by the community being insulted: if people with mental illness do not want to be called "insane", they cannot be forced to claim this term.

A satirical example of politically correct facade
A satirical example of politically correct facade

Politically correct as facade respectability

Obviously, linguistic hatred is a result of social and political hatred: the specific insults (black, retarded, fr * cio, etc.) exist because there is a hatred towards the people who are the target, not vice versa.
Therefore, a policy that limits the use of these terms will only take effect if, at the same time, the reasons for this hatred are also addressed. Otherwise, we may have teenagers who do not insult their gay partner in class by calling him "fr * cio", but who in the meantime beat him in the bathroom.

A linguistic policy is a way of removing a weapon from the offender and giving rules that create a ground for dialogue. So it's not useless and it's important to pursue it. However, it cannot be the only way these problems are addressed, because otherwise it becomes only a facade tool.

Do not offend in words, but discriminate in deeds: the politically correct facade and the degenerate one

Politically correct, as seen from Fresu's speech, was used by people outside the communities discriminated against for boast of a facade tolerance. For these people, not calling blacks "blacks" was enough to not be racist and to be able to wear the medal of tolerance.
However, in the meantime these same people felt free not to hire blacks, to automatically regard black men as potential rapists or black women as potential prostitutes. We will all understand / and that in the presence of this mindset toxic, avoiding or not a certain offensive word does not make the person any less racist.

However, avoiding the use of a single word is a much faster and easier change to make than changing your mindset. It is for this reason that certain privileged sections of the population have adopted the politically correct, but without having it accompanied by a deeper reflection and an examination of conscience.

This use of the facade gives life to the politically correct degenerated of which Immanuel Casto speaks, that is of that politically correct Puritan who denies the existence of the difference between people.
We are talking about the politically correct of "we are all human beings" and "I don't care about skin color". This thinking is only apparently progressive, since in reality flattens specific problems that certain specific communities must face, and therefore must be addressed specifically. Taking into account the problems of the various oppressed communities is not simple and certainly complicates reality, but it is necessary to give targeted answers.

Similarly, the politically correct degenerates even when it prevents discriminated communities from claiming the derogatory terms with which they offended them, precisely to deprive them of their original meaning.

The varied cast of Glee, with L'Asiatica, Il Disabile, La Nera, Il Gay. One per type, otherwise it's too much!
The varied cast of Glee, with The Asian, The Disabled, The Black, The Gay. One for each type, otherwise it's too much!

"Politically correct" as a negative term: two words about this use

As I hope it is understood, the politically correct in itself is not negative, on the contrary. It becomes negative when it is used in a hypocritical way as a facade tolerance. However, in recent years it has become very common to yell, in evidently negative tones, politically correct for anything, whether or not it has to do with the original meaning.
Now, mine will be a rather short speech, since it would take a study based on a very large number of empirical data to be able to study well the variety of use of "politically correct" and the realities to which it refers. Today we see and comment on just a few, which I believe are the most significant.

Politically correct and representation: similar, but not the same

First, I would like to talk about the use of "politically correct" to refer to all cases in which, in some work, non-white, non-heterosexual, non-cisgender characters are inserted. et similia.
This use is not particularly correct (HA!), Since in this case one should speak of "representation". Then, of course, the representation of minorities in the media can be defined as a form of respect for them and therefore could be combined with the intentions that animate even the politically correct. However, I personally tend to consider them two ways to show respect for minorities: not to offend them and not to make them invisible.

The representation of minorities in the Western media, in fact, is a very complex issue, which has evolved a lot over time. This is not the place to talk about it extensively.
However, it is known that it is important for minorities not to be represented in the media only in subordinate roles, or with characterizations that reiterate false and harmful stereotypes. For this reason, having non-white and / or non-heterosexual protagonists, for example, is very significant for black and queer minorities.

The difference between representation and tokenism

Nevertheless, it must be taken into account that even representation, like politically correct, can be a facade used by non-discriminated people to clear their conscience.
This is the case of the typical Black Quote o Quote Rainbow of many cast, generally composed of a single character, who can sometimes even be the bearer of various harmful stereotypes.
This type of facade representation is called tokenism. We have seen it recently with Onward.

Therefore, when we want to talk about the representation of minorities in the media, it would be more correct to do so in terms of, precisely, representation (if well done and well thought out) or of tokenism (if badly made and facade).
In this case, it would not be correct (HA!) To speak of "politically correct". However, this use is now very rooted and is often seen also used in RPG communities by those who complain, for example, of the genderfluid elves of D&D (which are representation, not politically correct).


Politically correct and violence or explicit language

Respecting the dignity of others through language control does not mean having to use a lexicon suitable for children. A person can safely make a speech with vulgar terms without being politically incorrect. Likewise, a speech without vulgar terms is not automatically politically correct. Therefore, exchanges like the one below are incorrect:

Person 1: "For reasons that do not concern you" is the new "make them your cocks"
Person 2: Politically Correct sucks 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Again person 1: they say “what a nuisance” 😂

Similarly, if a work contains explicit violence it is not for this reason politically incorrect.

The complete cartoon of Toles on the politically correct
The complete cartoon of Toles on the politically correct

Politically correct and fight against discrimination

Politically correct, if used well and required by minorities themselves, is part of the fight against discrimination. However, the denunciation of certain behaviors such as sexists, racists or homophobes is not the implementation of the politically correct, which instead generally refers to the moderation of language.
The denunciation of sexist / racist / homophobic behaviors and the consequent request to condemn those who adopt them is a request to change a situation that is negative not only for the words used, but also for the behaviors adopted, therefore it affects more areas than the politically correct.

For this reason, a similar comment, which had been left under the photo of Veronica Fantoni for the #playernottoy on the page of Women, dice & data use an incorrect lexicon:

It seems to me that there is a rampant psychosis of the politically correct that looks for the rotten in every fold of the social ...

Politically correct and ... the new translation of The Lord of the Rings?

I add this paragraph because I mentioned this strange use of "politically correct" at the beginning of the article, but in that sense there is not much to say. The offending sentence, from a columnist I do not want to name (but which you will easily find on the web) is this (emphasis mine):

No more poetry, no more mystical-religious inspiration, no more warrior heroes and immortal values, but simple and pure politically correct. We would not be surprised if, by chance, in the new translation Legolas became homosexual, Gimli transgender and Aragorn worried about the fate of the Orcs that “they emigrate from Mordor”Looking for new job opportunities.

Although the new translator de The Lord of the Rings, Ottavio Fatica, certainly has a different style and technique from that of Vittoria Alliata, the first translator of the work, speaking of “politically correct” in relation to a translation is absolutely incorrect (HA!). Indeed, in Tolkien's work there are no racist offenses over which Fatigue should make a surrender decision. Therefore, it is not physically possible to make a politically correct translation of The Lord of the Rings.

Furthermore, the examples proposed by the writer would seem to refer more to the representation of minorities which, we have seen, is a different matter. And no, we don't have homosexual Legolas, trans Gimli or Aragorn worried about the Orcs, in the Fatigue translation.

No, politically correct does not harm freedom of expression, unlike what some cartoonists claim
No, politically correct does not harm freedom of expression, unlike what some cartoonists claim

Two conclusive words

In short, this article had three purposes:

  1. Explain the meaning of "politically correct";
  2. Differentiate the "politically correct positive" (ie the genuine one of minorities) from the "politically correct negative" (ie the facade of the majority);
  3. Show some cases in which one should not speak of "politically correct", but of other phenomena.

I hope I have explained these three points clearly and by to have invited the reader to reflect on how he uses this term. Personally, I invite you to use "politically correct" by clarifying whether we are referring to the right request for respect by those directly involved in verbal hatred, or the hypocritical facade of those who just want to pretend to be tolerant.

Indeed, it goes without saying that the politically correct facade does not please even the minorities themselves, since it only ends up damaging them, attributing to them what then seems a sterile and useless whim. On the contrary, respect for the dignity of others through (also, but not only) language is a positive and fundamental behavior for peaceful coexistence.
I would be curious to collect the most imaginative uses you have seen of this term, and your impressions of its meaning.