It’s best to think before speaking

(Portland) Commercial Review

Here’s a tip: The next time you hear yourself saying, “This may not be politically correct, but …,” stop.

Don’t just pause. Make a full stop.

You are about to say something that is either ignorant, offensive, bigoted or all three.

The notion of “political correctness” emerged from American college campuses in the 1980s, and like a lot of college trends it quickly went overboard.

A simple notion that one should think before speaking soon morphed into an irritating level of censorship or self-censorship. So there’s a reason that being “politically correct” became an object of scorn or derision. At the very least, the excesses of that movement became something easily mocked.

But now, it seems, the pendulum has made its inevitable swing the other way.

Today, it’s fashionable — at least in some quarters — to revel in being “politically incorrect.”

It’s a way to get attention and a way of thumbing your nose at those who have gone overboard as “speech police.”

Trouble is, the words that follow, “This may not be politically correct, but,” are virtually always something that shouldn’t be said. And using those words reflects on the speaker.

You may think you look cool or contrarian or smart, but the fact is, you reveal your shallowness, your ignorance and — yes — your bigotry.

Some folks we like and respect in this community have fallen into this trap.

Their mouths get the better of their brains and stuff starts being said that shouldn’t be said.

But they need to know this and take it to heart: Every time you do that — every time you use the “N word,” every time you repeat stereotypical jokes that should have embarrassed your grandfathers — you diminish yourself in the eyes of those who know you and who, once upon a time, respected you.

If you wanted to continue to be respected, think before you speak.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected].