In his article “‘Political Correctness’ has become a code word for hate,” Larry Summers argues that Donald Trump and his campaign have transformed political correctness into a term of hatred that has resulted in violence and fear across the country. Summers believes that while previously the term was used to argue over the appropriateness of “Halloween costumes” and “sombrero parties,” it has now become much more than that. I agree with Summers that Trump’s rhetoric and his words towards marginalized groups have stepped over the line, and it is no longer up for debate on whether or not his lines are acceptable. Additionally, since he won the election, there has been “an upsurge” of “hateful incidents,” and Summers argues that this is an effect of Trump’s language and hateful speech. Moving forward, individuals need to acknowledge what political correctness truly means and discover how to prevent hateful words from turning into actions.
Summers claims that Trump’s version of political correctness is used as an excuse for individuals to use offensive and hate-filled speech. Summers opens up by stating, “I will never again use the term ‘political correctness’” (Summers). This is crucial because he then continues to mention how he was once critical of the term and believed it was often overused or has “run amok” (Summers). This shows how Summers is not bias and must truly believe the meaning of the term has changed if he declares that he refuses to ever use it again. Furthermore, Trump has isolated and insulted women, people with disabilities, Muslims, and Mexicans with his words, and he has yet to condemn the KKK’s support for him (Summers). His words makes Summers and myself worried that people will infer that since the President-Elect can feel and say these things, that it is acceptable and excusable since it is associated with political correctness, and the President-Elect himself. If the President can say this, why can’t every citizen do the same? Summers does an excellent job analyzing why political correctness does not have the same definition that it use to, however he does not emphasize enough how this hateful language also becomes normalized. I have noticed in my own life how nobody seems to blink an eye anymore when they hear offensive language towards women or minorities; they simply make a reference to how we live in “Trump’s America” now. Individuals seem to be accepting this new way of life and language, and it makes me question how much more this hate will spread before more people begin taking a stand to stop it.
In addition to the harsh words spoken since the election results, Summers comments on the outbreak of hate crimes and the fear people have begun to feel for the present and the future. He states that women, African Americans, LGBTQ+, Muslim, Hispanic, and disabled students “fear that the basic security and acceptance on which they relied is at risk” (Summers). In my opinion, it is not surprising that individuals are in a constant state of fear when they realize how many people voted for someone who has said such shameful things. Additionally, Summers tells stories about his children’s’ schools; there have been swastikas painted on walls and “black freshmen were sent emails with pictures depicting lynchings” (Summers). These are no longer just words, but actions as well. It is scary what people are feeling and seeing and I have personally found it difficult to understand and sympathize with those who voted for President-Elect Trump. Summers explains it best by stating, “Winning an election does not entitle one to upend our basic values” (Summers). Furthermore, it is indisputable that Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th, but there is no reason why every American should not be willing and ready to stand up towards the hatred that this country does not represent.