When Political Correctness Met Essex Girl; Answers to Correspondents

Daily Mail (London), April 6, 2002 | Go to article overview

When Political Correctness Met Essex Girl; Answers to Correspondents


QUESTION

Who first coined the phrase 'political correctness' and what's its official definition?

POLITICAL correctness was begun in Seventies' America as a method of 'levelling the playing field' between the sexes and the races in the light of the perceived inequalities of white maledominated society up to that point.

It promoted the avoidance of expressions or actions that could denigrate groups or minorities that were traditionally seen as disadvantaged.

In the UK at the time the earliest targets for 'readjustment' were established titles and words such as 'chairman' and 'golly'.

Popular culture had its first knocks as those telling 'Irish' jokes were targeted for vilification by a new breed of comedians such as Ben Elton. In a perverse sense of PC logic, the beginning of the Essex Girl jokes began at the same time - and were deemed politically correct.

By the early Nineties, the slight readjustment seemed to have become a full-on dismissal of all our previous culture, with the publishing of books such as The Bias-Free Dictionary, and literally hundreds of bizarre court cases claiming compensation for supposedly homophobic, sexist or racist comments and actions.

The defining moment, according to those that monitor such things, was the revision of the Bible. No longer would God have a 'right hand', instead it had to be 'mighty hand', for fear of offending sinistrals (lefthanders).

Robert Campbell, Motherwell.

THE first recorded use of the phrase was by Scots-born American federalist James Wilson (1742-98) of Pennsylvania - one of the most important figures in framing the U.S. Constitution.

Using the term in the sense of being correct from a political point of view, he declared in 1793: ' "The United States", instead of "The people of the United States", is the toast given. This is not politically correct.' As a term in its own right, 'political correctness' didn't become a fixed phrase until the early Seventies.

It now means conformity to a body of liberal or radical opinion on social matters, characterised by the advocacy of approved causes or views, and often by the rejection of language and behaviour considered discriminatory or offensive.

By the early Nineties, 'political correctness', like the abbreviation PC, was nearly always pejorative. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

When Political Correctness Met Essex Girl; Answers to Correspondents
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.