Political correctness is a trend of social behavior that in recent decades has strengthened to become part of our daily life. Partly with the aim of eradicating practices such as discrimination and racism, public language began to shed potentially offensive terms. A well-known example is “people with different capabilities,” an expression used to substitute the terms ‘invalid’, ‘disabled’ and other words that until not long ago were used frequently as the briefest synonyms of that condition. However, that very example shows how political correctness can easily flirt with the absurd.

In a controversial video published recently on the website Big Think, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks about political correctness and the main reasons why it is “a more dangerous form of totalitarianism,” as, although it may not seem so at first sight, its practice conceals the relationships of power and even makes them impenetrable. Žižek begins by talking of the example of the boss-employee relationship that is currently sweetened by friendship and apparent proximity (in contrast with the old-fashioned hierarchical relationship that was cold and distant). For Žižek, with a boss who also appears to be a friend of his or her subordinates, the possibility of rebelling and disobeying is almost eliminated and is seen as a lack of education.

But this is the simplest example. Faithful to his heterodoxy and irreverence, Žižek tells some anecdotes with which he seeks to demonstrate that a certain level of obscenity is necessary to create a more intimate link between people. On various occasions the philosopher mocked a deaf-mute, a couple of blacks and a Native American, and in all of those cases, in contrary to what a politically correct discourse would assume, he ended up making friends with those people. Because, as the philosopher says, the paradox of the politically correct is that it keeps us at an aseptic level in our relationships with other people, while with obscenity we are mutually fouled, as it allows us to “have real contact with another.”

This aversion to political correctness is critical in at least one sense. It attempts to go beyond the simple reluctance to point out the short circuit in its nucleus that prevents it complying with its supposed purpose. What is that? That perhaps by being politically correct we are not reproducing racism, but there is a good possibility that we are reproducing the social conditions for which it still exists in our era.

Political correctness is a trend of social behavior that in recent decades has strengthened to become part of our daily life. Partly with the aim of eradicating practices such as discrimination and racism, public language began to shed potentially offensive terms. A well-known example is “people with different capabilities,” an expression used to substitute the terms ‘invalid’, ‘disabled’ and other words that until not long ago were used frequently as the briefest synonyms of that condition. However, that very example shows how political correctness can easily flirt with the absurd.

In a controversial video published recently on the website Big Think, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks about political correctness and the main reasons why it is “a more dangerous form of totalitarianism,” as, although it may not seem so at first sight, its practice conceals the relationships of power and even makes them impenetrable. Žižek begins by talking of the example of the boss-employee relationship that is currently sweetened by friendship and apparent proximity (in contrast with the old-fashioned hierarchical relationship that was cold and distant). For Žižek, with a boss who also appears to be a friend of his or her subordinates, the possibility of rebelling and disobeying is almost eliminated and is seen as a lack of education.

But this is the simplest example. Faithful to his heterodoxy and irreverence, Žižek tells some anecdotes with which he seeks to demonstrate that a certain level of obscenity is necessary to create a more intimate link between people. On various occasions the philosopher mocked a deaf-mute, a couple of blacks and a Native American, and in all of those cases, in contrary to what a politically correct discourse would assume, he ended up making friends with those people. Because, as the philosopher says, the paradox of the politically correct is that it keeps us at an aseptic level in our relationships with other people, while with obscenity we are mutually fouled, as it allows us to “have real contact with another.”

This aversion to political correctness is critical in at least one sense. It attempts to go beyond the simple reluctance to point out the short circuit in its nucleus that prevents it complying with its supposed purpose. What is that? That perhaps by being politically correct we are not reproducing racism, but there is a good possibility that we are reproducing the social conditions for which it still exists in our era.

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