Political correctness during holiday season?

Photo Illustration | Todd Kleiboer

By Todd Kleiboer | Co-Editor

Happy Holidays! Or-whatever-greeting-doesn’t-offend-you-this-year!

Merry Christ-oh, wait, that’s a bad word to some people, let’s not use it.

Political correctness can be a pain, right?

Being PC can seem like navigating a minefield of indignant saltiness at the best of times, and during the holiday season (October through December usually), it’s like poking an unchained rabid dog with a toothpick. For some (AKA Trump and some of his supporters), political correctness has no place in society because it beats around the bush and people can’t “call ’em as they sees ’em”. Hell, I understand that frustration, and I consider myself liberal (trigger warning).

That frustration surfaces more often during this time of the year, and big corporations are especially careful of preserving their neutral image. I understand that all religions need to be respected because Christmas is definitely not the only holiday during December with Hanukkah lasting from Dec. 12-20. The constant pressure on their employees to remain PC, however, is another story.

Let’s take Walmart as an example. Employees are told to greet customers with the sterilized “Happy Holidays!”, most likely to avoid a lawsuit or negative press, and while that’s fine in larger, more diverse cities where everyone and anyone passes through the megastore, it’s smaller towns like Commerce or Sulphur Springs where the PC gets a little much. While Commerce is more diverse than the average East Texas small town because of the university, I would wager that most residents celebrate Christmas, yet the local Walmart keeps to its standard, neutral greeting.

Better safe than sorry, I guess?

I don’t entirely agree.

PC has a place. For instance, it is an attempt to fix our language to account for race, gender, and religion, and being PC has been a partial success. It aims to reduce microaggressions (that’s for another time) and spread equality by targeting the language that we use thoughtlessly at times. Those who rail against political correctness believe that it is shredding their unique language and is destroying the “American way”. However, I would assert that the “American way” is subject to change, and change is a-coming fast.

Turning back to the darker side of PC, I agree with the statement that it does sometimes gloss over the cultural aspects of the American language, especially the aspects associated with Christianity like Christmas, which, at this point, is more a commercial hullabaloo than any actual religious celebration. PC can sanitize things to the point that a word’s or phrase’s origin and value is reduced to something little more than fluff.