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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


Oversensitivity and political correctness stunt necessary conversation

Maya Homberg
Gen Z gets offended too quickly, stunting opportunities for vital conversation.

“Kids are too sensitive nowadays.”

Maybe you’ve heard your grandparents say this at Thanksgiving dinner or even your parents repeat it after you tell them something that happened at school. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I agree with them.

My generation is extremely focused on word choice and political correctness, obsessed with making sure to never offend anyone and always make others feel comfortable. While I absolutely believe in respect and common decency, the obsession with canceling those who don’t conform to the “correct” language has gone too far.

Now, Gen Z is quick to call peers and elders words like prejudiced, racist and homophobic. While these can obviously describe some people, the words are often used to flame those who they simply disagree with. It’s gotten to the point that even comedians are afraid to come to college campuses because they don’t want to offend students and be canceled.

“[The younger generation] just want to use these words. ‘That’s racist, that’s sexist, that’s prejudice.’ They don’t even know what they’re talking about […] I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me ‘don’t go near colleges — they’re so PC,’” prominent comedian Jerry Seinfeld said.

Members of Gen Z simply can’t take a joke anymore. They get offended so quickly that humor has taken a backseat.

“I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because [the students are] way too conservative […] Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody,” comedian Chris Rock said.

Comedy is supposed to poke fun at people – it’s ridiculous that joke-making is limited just because someone’s feelings might be hurt. Making a race- or gender-based joke is not automatically racist or sexist, and this social conservatism that so many students have will fail them later on in life.

Getting called names or having someone offend you is a part of life. Not everyone is going to like you, and you will be faced with many, many people you disagree with along the course of your life. Rather than calling someone “bigoted” or “____phobic” when they offend you, sit down and have a conversation about your differing views.

The true issue with oversensitivity is exactly that: it stunts conversation between disagreeing people. I think our country is way too over-politicized, and opposing sides do an atrocious job of trying to understand each other. Instead of getting offended at whatever the other side is saying, we should all do our best to act like adults and talk things out.

Conversation is key to unlocking common ground, but oversensitivity is the bolt preventing that door from being opened. We have progressed too far, to the point that even comedy is regulated, and all of our focus is making sure everyone remains comfortable and not offended.

Why don’t we get uncomfortable?

Let people voice their opinions and make jokes without the fear of being canceled. Have conversations with those you don’t agree with, and find that common ground. And remember, not everyone’s going to like or agree with you in life, so don’t get your slacks in a swivel over something that won’t matter in a few days.

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