The shorthand term for a set of liberal attitudes about education and society, and the terminology associated with them.
To be “politically correct” is to be sensitive to unconscious racism and sexism and to display environmental awareness. However, the real or alleged enforcement of “PC” speech codes (“people of colour” instead of “coloured people”, “differently-abled” instead of “disabled” and so on) at more than 130 US universities by 1991 attracted derision and was criticised as a form of thought-policing.
The concept had been around since the 60s, but the late 80s saw a resurgence of a codified system of speech and behaviour that was intended to offend absolutely nobody!
Retarded children were now “special”, handicapped people were “physically challenged”, you were supposed to call yourself “African American” not black, and childhood games of cowboys and Indians were deemed offensive to “Native Americans”.
The movement became extremely widespread, though the majority of Americans (and certainly Australians) resisted the idea of making an effort to keep from annoying various groups of people.
Still, “PC” popped up everywhere, from the immediate phasing out of the word “chick” to the unspoken outlawing of the phrase “you people”.
“PC” was not simply limited to speech either; certain beliefs, such as anti-fur and pro-Nelson Mandela sympathies also fall into the realm of the Politically Correct.
And then the Politically Correct Gestapo arrived on the scene and even ‘thoughtcrime’ finally became a reality and we now live in a world where fat people are “horizontally challenged”, short people are “vertically challenged”, clumsy people are “uniquely coordinated”, the unemployed are “involuntarily leisured”, vagrants are “non-specifically destinationed individuals” and worst has become “least best”.
It won’t be long until a serial killer becomes a “person with difficult-to-meet needs”.