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Question of the Day: PC-ness 6 February 2008

Posted by SA'ILA in Politics, SA'ILA.

When is it okay to not be politically correct?

In an age where, in order to be accommodating, we are encouraged to be sensitive to the values and frameworks of others, at what point should we stop and take a stance – especially if it may not be politically correct?



1. VARANGALI - 7 February 2008

Salam Sa’ila,

I find refreshing those people who always state what they believe and back it up with reason, yet remain empathetic to others’ views.

2. Lizzy - 11 February 2008

Salaam Sa’ila,

There are different ways to be un-P.C. I doubt that anyone who reads this blog with sustained interest would utter racial slurs or otherwise insulting epithets in a serious political discussion; such a move (I believe) can only really be inflammatory. I think it is this type of behavior that a social commitment to political correctness aimed to stifle in the beginning.

But a political, social or religious position that is not popular or widely acceptable to the thinking, feeling, well-educated of today’s world can still be expressed in terms that are respectful. Muslims are enjoined to change what is wrong by action, and when that is not possible, by word or pen. It is hardly advisable to stand by every conversation that concerns public affairs and keep quiet because one’s views are unpopular; they may still be defensible and even right. A plurality of views is expected in America, I think. After all, the freedom of speech is one of our most (if not the most) prized provisions of the Constitution. If we self-edit and ultimately self-censor ourselves out of a desire to fit in or appear socially acceptable, what does that say about our commitment to what we believe to be true? Even further, what can it say about the ultimate consequence of “P.C.”-ness? It’s social goal is noble indeed – to preserve the dignity of groups and individuals in and concerned by a discussion. But can it be taken too far – is it un-P.C., for instance, to support Palestine? If that turns a person, in one or another forum, into an anti-Semite, is public debate stifled? And if so, who can liberate it, and how?

3. ABD - 12 February 2008

i’m with Lizzy on this one.

i would only add that political correctness, as much as we may poke fun at it, is just a different kind of tradition. a tradition doesn’t just carry history but also a social code–a set of spoken and unspoken rules that govern behavior, whether or not it is legally enforced. isn’t political correctness an attempt to revise the received social code or create a new social code? it is inspired by certain liberal ideals, and is conscious in a way that perhaps traditions historically have not. but it is a tradition-in-the-making nonetheless.

this doesn’t mean that we have to agree with everything that is PC or is not PC, of course. just as with any tradition, morality requires that each of us reflect on what we will accept or reject from the tradition that is given to us (and accept the social cost that goes with it). indeed, the tradition is itself an ongoing conversation.

for more on what i mean by tradition, please see:

4. Saifuddin - 13 February 2008


as-salaamu ‘alaikum. MashaAllah, good question,

“When is it okay to not be politically correct?”

My understanding according to what I have acquired from my shaykh is that PC-ness becomes batil if it is contrary to Haqq. In other words if PC-ness is putting high what Allah ta ‘ala put low or is putting low what Allah ta ‘ala puts high it is false and should be not only rejected but put under our feet.


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