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Political correctness overload

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Today in North Dining Hall, I was asked to a sort of petition for a group promoting a change in political correctness: “mentally ill” to “intellectually disabled.”

In short, I feel this is an overwhelming example of the fact that political correctness is out of hand. Sure, I understand certain words in existence carry a hurtful, malicious connotation and should be erased from our vocabulary. No one should ever be referred to as a “retard.” However, in a society that seeks to avoid labeling, it seems a little ridiculous that referring to someone as mentally ill or mentally disabled can be offensive.

Focusing too much on the miniscule details of labeling a certain group is counterproductive – it further suggests that this group is different than the norm, and detracts from what really matters – that everyone is treated with fairness. We need to stop placing so much importance on the details of a particular label.

The meaning of a word is only what we allow it to mean. Constantly changing the political correctness of the label of a certain group simply creates more “un-politically correct” words, and further detracts from the simple truth that rather than an individual being “mentally ill” or “intellectually disabled,” he is a person.

James Petrocelli

junior

off campus

April 1