The Cardinal Times

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Op-ed: Americans should be sensitive to diversity

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Op-ed: Americans should be sensitive to diversity

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According to a “More in Common” study, 80 percent of Americans are against the use of political correctness.

More in Common is a non-profit organization, whose objective is to identify polarization and social division and to confront these problems. The study consisted of surveys and interviews of Americans of all races, genders, political affiliations and ages.

Politically correct terms are used with the intent to be inclusive of everyone.

Personally, I think politically correct terms should always be used when referring to race, otherwise members of society are marginalized. But, politically correct terms are not always a part of common lexicon.

As an Asian-American, I find that people always identify me as being “Asian,” but never include the “American” part. Similarly, the term Latino-American is never used, but instead just Latino, Hispanic, or even more offensive, Mexican for any person of Latin descent. With current naming conventions, these two ethnic groups will never truly be recognized as Americans.

However, I do understand the confusion and anxiety created by political correctness. Is it better to use Native American or American Indian? Hispanic or Latino?

Over break, I went to Arizona, and noticed that indigenous Americans use American Indian among themselves, even though I am most accustomed to using the term Native American as I have been taught it is most politically correct.

In these instances, it is best to ask people which term they prefer and why, and then incorporate that knowledge into your life.

Even though this confusion exists, I think it will always be acceptable to use the politically correct terms. One can never go wrong with them.

So why are politically correct terms so difficult to incorporate? On virtually all forms, such as the Common Application I filled out recently, the choices are “American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African-American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.”

Why is it that skin color is used for white people? Instead, it should be European-American. People then may say that it is because they are white, but what do I say? I most certainly do not identify as yellow.

When referencing race, politically correct terms referencing ethnicity should always be used.

While it may seem odd to change the way we speak, attempting to change is for the better. It helps be more inclusive and not unintentionally marginalize people.

 

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