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The play Clybourne Park emphasizes the importance of political correctness in society. The bulk of the characters in the play are committed to investigating the problems that plague the American fabric. It investigates the social schisms that occur in America as well as the tactics that can be used to mitigate some of the political obstacles. Nonetheless, Steve and Karl Linder refuse to accept the political correctness that is a central theme in the novel. They are always countering the views that are instituted to further the advancement of civilization. Similarly, they provide combative and aggressive dialogue against political correctness despite the progressive society around them. Such opposition warrants analysis since it may, or may not, have been inspired by true concerns.
Firstly, political correctness may be responsible for such loath since it assumes that every fabric of the present day society is poisoned (Gallagher). Consequently, it encourages the need for continued assessment of the challenges beleaguering the American people in the belief that the future holds more promise for them. Such thinking creates a sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction among the citizens and may thus hinder the quality. Consequently, it is likely that Linder’s and Steve’ opposition is intended to enhance the appreciation of the current circumstances. By concentrating on the future, the citizen is overlooking the simple enjoyments of life. This only creates animosity and aggression and should thus be negated. This provides one of the reasons behind the aggression that is promoted by the two characters. Progression assumes that perfection is possible. It is predicated on the principles which assume the possibility of an empyreal existence. This limits the conception of reality. Progression overlooks the essence of reality in the American society. It assumes that there will be a time when all the racial differences will be ironed out and the class differences will be mitigated. Nonetheless, Karl is a realist and he predicates the need for the acceptance of the bitter truth (Norris 35). Thus, he indicates that by moving in, the blacks would be chasing the Whites out. It is highly unlikely that two different segments of individuals in the society will be able to occupy a similar power position. It is further true that every man aims for self-preservation. Progression assumes that man can thrive on principles alone. However, Karl enquires on the possibility of living in a priori principle. He seeks to understand whether one can live in principle. He subsequently declares that one has “gotta live in a house” (Norris 174).
Political correctness, as advocated in the play, is projected to be a culmination of the practice of constant sacrifice. The Whites are forced to sacrifice some of their comfort in order to host the incoming Black members in the society. However, sacrifice does not constitute acceptance for it is merely a compromise. Compromise does not address the problem. Instead, it postpones the racial and class differences that exist between the American people. In countering the assertions forwarded by the characters who are aligned towards political correctness. Steve argues that there is need to face the political and social challenges head on and this sometimes inspires hostility (Norris 62). Nonetheless, hostility is not always negative as it seeks to create a common platform or inclination among the different segments of individuals in the community. Hostility allows the creation of policy frameworks which serve to enhance the interaction process between the different races without limiting or infringing on the rights of one group (Gallagher). Still, political correctness demands the sensitivity of the language. It establishes that language plays an intrinsic part in determining the future stability of the relationship between the Blacks and the White. Sensitivity to language is not necessarily responsible for the racial differences which are present between the two major racial groups in America. According to Linder, the language is but a reflection of the society. Consequently, it does not influence the relations between the races but is rather influenced by the social factors. The play determines that the future will necessitate the need for the engagement of culturally sensitive language in the future if a repeat of the challenges imposed by racial differences are to be preempted. Steve’s constant use of profanity is a reflection of his inclinations with regards to political correctness. It is a direct intervention which is intended to mirror the speaker’s feelings and reflect the true nature of the given circumstance in life.
Linder is of the belief that language only plays a limited role in the determination of the degree of community convergence. Thus, he predicates that he does not “want to get in a situation where we though we found a solution only to have it turn out we’re screwed because of the language” (Norris 279). A soft language often erroneously communicates satisfaction with the circumstances that prevail at any given moment. It is a reflection of the sense of stability that is truly non-existent. The appropriateness of language may impede the efforts that are channeled towards the determination of solutions to given impediments. When one engages a mild tone, given their desire to promote language sensitivity, they are intrinsically betraying themselves since they are not adequately expressing their internal desires. It also constitutes a falsehood in the society and may unintentionally promote mediocrity which leads to underdevelopment.
Linder’s and Steve’s negation of political correctness is a consequence of their alignment to reality as it is. Essentially, the reality need not be attractive but it should be examined on realistic and the prevailing metrics. The future cannot be perfect regardless of the efforts that are expended to remedy it. Thus, individuals should commit themselves to the remedying of the present differences regardless of the hostilities that exist between the two different racial groups in America. It is highly unlikely that in the future such hostilities will be ironed out. Assuming that the future will be better than the present should not provide the metric by which present conflict resolution strategies are undertaken.
Alternatively, questions the concept of neighborhood. He seeks to negate the limitless of the term neighborliness. Political correctness reinforces the need for understanding and friendliness between people in the society regardless of their pedigrees. However, it is not always possible for one to be friendly to everyone in the society. Karl calls for the limits that should be erected with regards to neighborliness. Political correctness has seen an increase in calls for America to open up to other nations regardless of their political ideologies. Karl posits the question “do the boundaries of the neighborhood extend indefinitely? Who shall we invite next, the Red Chinese?” (Norris 175). Political correctness promotes the need for countries to interact on a friendly basis and engage the most appropriate metrics during interactions. It negates the proclamation of statements that may be misconstrued to project insults to others. However, this principle conflicts with the truth of the political situation where most countries and individuals in the society do not always agree with each other. Disagreements are not necessarily reflective of hate or discontentment. Instead, they are a reflection of the independence of each individual from the other person. Human diversity can only be truly observed in the opinions that people manifest. Furthermore, regardless of the nature of the statement that is extended by a given individual, there is always going to be some form of misinterpretation since individuals are the subject of different socialization processes. Overall, according to Karl, political correctness is only intended to fit one into the community and not the progress of the society as a whole.
Conclusively, political correctness is based on the pretenses and assumption that the world is a perfect place and the people in it are not as diverse. It is based on the premise that human beings aim for the same thing and that everyone has a good intention in their hearts. Thus, it promotes the principles of neighborliness and language sensitivity. However, such assumptions negate the social truth. Firstly, language sensitivity impedes the correct dissemination of information since it creates the impression that a dire situation can be rectified easily. This proposition inspires complacency and thus a lack of progressivism in the long run. Alternatively, one cannot be able to satisfy every other individual in the society. The concept of neighborliness should be overseen within the limits of honesty and the truth. Essentially, if one chooses to be a neighbor, then they should be able to reflect the principles of the individual who they purport to neighbor.
Gallagher, B. The Problem with Political Correctness. The Huffington Post, 2013. Web.
Norris, Bruce. Clybourne Park: A Play. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Print.
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