1. The simple rule of thumb is this – when in doubt and dealing with anything sensitive, tack on the word ‘challenged’ to your sentence. You can’t go wrong. A guy who can’t see is ‘visually challenged’, a guy who is wheelchair-bound is ‘physically challenged’. But those are the easy ones. The truly politically correct go further. A short person is ‘vertically challenged’, a liar is ‘truth challenged’, you might think this column is ‘humour challenged’… You get the drift.
2. The essence of political correctness is the assumption that the world is populated with people who have very thin skins and might object to anything at anytime. So, you don’t want to point out any blatantly obvious facts about them — their sex (thus actresses became actors), their race (you really want to tiptoe around this one and become colour bl… er… visually-challenged), or their physical appearance (basically, unlearn everything you learned in your Kindergarten playground).
3. The often-overlooked ingredient of being PC is zealous self-righteousness. You marshal your forces against the -isms (classism, racism, sexism, et al) and you go out and fight ‘em like this is the Crusades of cultural sensitisation. You do painstaking training modules for bored corporate flunkies. You protest vehemently against the boorish and the profane in popular culture. And at all times remember to piously point the poor, unenlightened un-PC heathen around you in the right direction.
4. Political correctness can also be applied retroactively. As in, you know, little Noddy isn’t having a ‘gay old time’ anymore. And, Golliwogs have been eradicated from the toy chests of little fictional children (poor ol’ Enid Blyton’s books suffered particularly).
5. In other words, political correctness is the cultural equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. Because, clearly if you change all those mean, nasty words, discrimination itself will no longer exist, and we’ll all live in that Utopian society free of bigotry you know is just a changed noun/adjective away (at the end of the rainbow. By the pot of gold).