Here’s what happens when you change the term “political correctness” to “treating people with respect”

Originally published at:


But…but…this doesn’t respect the writers’ original intent…


The XKCD forums autocorrect “political correctness” to “basic human decency”.


That’s amazing.


i would love to know how to do this.


I first heard of “PC” in the early 90s while in college.
I still haven’t figured out what it is.
It seems to be a term created to attack kindness.


There’s a Chrome extension called PC2Respect. Here’s how the headline looks in my browser:

It always makes me do a double take :grinning:


This is a riff on a Neil Gaiman idea from not quite four years ago:


Yes, and if I replace all the instances of BoingBoing with ‘Stormfront,’ I make all of us sound really bad. Why are you all posting on Stormfront?

Replacing a word with another word when the difference is the argument is not engaging in debate, it’s acting like a five year old.

Is there a difference between political correctness and treating people with respect? Why, yes there is. Political Correctness may overlap with treating people with respect (it is both politically correct and respectful not to call a gentleman from Mexico a ‘spic,’ a girl from Tel Aviv a ‘kike,’ or a person of alternative gender of recent African extraction a ‘nigger.’) but it also includes idiocy that hurts people. Example? Certainly. Consider the scandal in Rotherham as described by the national broadcaster. Political correctness and not anything else lead the officials of the council to deny and delay investigation the rape of children. It was political correctness in their words and in the words of the incandescently furious local Muslim organizations who were horrified at what was done to ‘treat them with respect.’

So no. Political correctness and treating people with respect are not the same thing. They are not thought of as the same thing (and there’s your descriptivist reason to abandon this whole idiotic enterprise right here) firstly, and secondly they do not describe the same thing. Treating people with respect is between fellow humans, a matter of kindness and respect. Political correctness is the fallow, poisonous attempt at a synthetic version of that by institutions without an ounce of courage or as much heart as God gave a cockroach. It is doing respect and kindness badly.

It saddens me that what is, essentially, a corporate communications strategy with all the warmth and humanity of a thrown knife is fetishized by people who really ought to know better.


If it was just “treating people with respect”, nobody would have any issues with it. Political correctness has the same relationship with treating people with respect that Puritanism has with living a moral life. You leave out the part about people appointing themselves to the role of cultural authoritarians, and tormenting those who do not submit completely or enthusiastically enough.


What would he autocorrect SJW to, I wonder.


I imagine the people whose quotes were altered will like the new versions too. “Of course! No one is entitled to respect by default! It has to be earned!”

That sort of thing.


No. “Political correctness” is a nebulous and pejorative dog whistle term used by the right to push an agenda. It’s rarely if ever used in good faith. Puritanism is an actual thing.


First, you didn’t read the article.

So it didn’t affect the investigation, according to the investigators. It may have affected the way it appeared in the media. Which is pretty reasonable - the implication that all Pakistani men are rapists is part of what people may have derived from the situation, because lots of people are super racist.

Second, even if it HAD affected the investigation, the alternative - “assume that Pakistani men are raping women an act accordingly” - is bad policing.

Why is it, I wonder, that the only people who I hear bawling on about how political correctness is hurting them are those people who want to say something bad about minorities…

Yes, when investigating a crime in a minority community, you should be careful not to suggest that the criminals you are investigating somehow represent the minority community as a whole. That’s how you do responsible police-work.


I hear that story a lot, but it’s never made sense to me. “I had ironclad proof of a crime but I didn’t make any arrests because I was scared of being called a racist! You know how thin-skinned and sensitive us police officers are. It was all the fault of Political Correctness and certainly ‘not anything else’.”

There has to be something else going on. Maybe the police were bribed? Maybe they just couldn’t be bothered to investigate, because the victims came from marginal backgrounds and weren’t seen as sympathetic witnesses? Maybe the perpetrators had access to the same resources that allowed Jimmy Savile to escape justice for 50 years?

We’ll never know, because somebody somewhere decided to blame the whole sordid mess on “Political Correctness” instead of digging for the truth, and then the whole brigade of anti-PC morons slithered out of the woodwork to agree with them. I see from your link that the BBC is part of the problem. You’d think they would have learned their lesson after Jimmy Savile but I guess not.


2 problems with PC culture

  1. It replaces rationality with racism. For example, there are very real reasons border security in any country is very important. However PC culture ignores these reasons and brands their opponents as racists. PC gets in the way of truth.

  2. It promotes a hypocritical ideology that people who subscribed to the PC narrative are right and everyone else is wrong. A truly liberal minded people would have no issues conversing with someone with different political opinions. PC culture gets offended with anyone disagrees with them. They are no better than the “ignorance” that they fight


I see wut you did there. :slight_smile:

1 Like


You say the delay in that investigation was due to people wanting to appear “politically correct” regarding the Muslim community. You could just as easily say the delay was caused by people making an effort of “showing respect to the Muslim community.”

The excuse is bullshit either way in that case but it comes down to exactly the same thing.


Back before Political Correctness, We the People could be ignorant or punch down or ignorantly punch down without being criticized for it. Now we’re racist* for saying things that are racist and reflect our racist beliefs? Come on!

  • Or misogynist, or ableist, or ageist, or…

You could, but you’d be using a definition of respect that I’ve personally never heard of.