If you believe that being an entrepreneur can eliminate all of the malfunctions of the corporate world, think again. Just as laws were created to protect mistreated workers, unwritten codes were also created to form a more civil working environment. However, just like many other ideas that begin as an improvement, they can get stretched to the nth degree. Political correctness started as a way to keep blunders of prejudice and ridicule out of the business world, but has now begun to run a muck. Here are a few examples of how political correctness has gotten out of control.
The controversy of keeping American history in our future, is no better stated than through the recent challenge of removing religion from holidays. Started as a well-intended, respectable way of including a society of non-Christians, our holidays have evolved into a war of words. Gestures, such as sending out Christmas cards, have become a battle of what you are suggesting, to customers. Will they be offended if you say, “Merry Christmas”, or offended, if you don’t? Many companies have side-stepped this argument by changing the word “Christmas” to “Winter Holiday”.
Trying to keep from saying, “bless you”, after hearing a sneeze, can be a hard habit to break, but this too, is a form of political incorrect speech. Allowing meetings or events, of a religious slant, on an employee bulletin board, will bring you more grief than ever imagined. This can be a difficult situation to address, especially when a cause has merit. For instance, a particular church that one of your employees belongs to, may be hosting a pancake breakfast, with the proceeds going to a fund for a local disaster. Instead, assign one person to take up a donation for the cause and send with the church member, or give to another organization that is involved with the cause.
While there are some derogatory words that should never be used, just trying to describe a person or place, can be difficult in today’s society. You have to stop and ask yourself what term, in categorizing the ethnic background, is politically correct. Using Negro, Mexican, or Asian, can bring a stir of negative emotions from certain employees. In some situations, even referring to someone as young or old, can bring a backlash of being stereotyped. Even having a particular individual in mind for filling a receptionist position, can turn ugly. Never tell a candidate that they are not bubbly enough or that they are not quite what you are looking for. Keep your reasons very general, such as, a more qualified person has been chosen for the job.
It is no longer acceptable to consider titles in the male gender. Words such as chairman, fireman, or foreman, are considered to be gender specific. This isn’t just a man thing because a stewardess is also seen as feminine and is now called a flight attendant. If you have a position that requires steady lifting of 50 pounds, or more, never refuse to accept an application from a female that is clearly, not cut out for the job. This will open a whole new can of worms with being prejudiced. Instead, take the application and leave it at that.
Making Small Talk
Choosing your words, carefully, even when asking about the weather, is important in being politically correct. Asking a female if she would care to borrow your umbrella, could be considered flirtatious, or mentioning a nice tan, can be taken the wrong way. Some employees are very sensitive about their sexual preference and can twist almost anything to become defensive. An entrepreneur is considered to be a professional and one mistake can become difficult to reverse. You are seen as being smarter, more intelligent, and politically correct in everything that you say and do.
History of Political Correctness
Political correctness is not a new feature in society. It has just grown from being a political reference, to a sociological expectation. First used in the Communist Party, the term, political correctness, gained little praise in the Western world. It referred to as bad politics by the Socialists when speaking of Communists. The 1970s discovered this term and used as a wedge for growing feminism and social change. Politicians picked up on the phrase during debates in the 1990s, and the term has since, spun out of control.
Entrepreneurs have enough to worry about, without watching every syllable that comes from their mouths. Unfortunately, the American mainstream has made political correctness, a solid way of life. Not everyone is in agreement with the radical choice of words that continue to build in our vocabularies. The United Kingdom, for instance, has exclaimed that this type of language is an utterly, intolerant system of thought.
No matter how you feel about political correctness, it could be beneficial to stay on top of the current speech and behavior suggestions. If nothing else, this practice can help you develop a deeper concentration on how you present yourself to employees and customers. Polishing up your knowledge of speech, can be a very beneficial tool to entrepreneurs. Pay close attention to your words and actions, as if the entire world is watching. It can save you trouble and embarrassment in the long run.