It seems to me that those who object to what they call "political correctness" usually do so when someone points out that the careless use of a word or term is wrong.
For instance, I've been accused of being a member of "the PC police" for objecting to the casual use of the word "Nazi" to complain about somebody who's too strict or demanding. I've also been accused of being overly concerned with political correctness for objecting to a white friend's complaint that his boss is a "slavedriver."
The "Nazi" usage happened again yesterday. I was at a public lecture, and as usual, the speaker was introduced by another person. Before doing the introduction, this person warned those of us with cars to be very diligent about feeding the area's parking meters. This was necessary because, she said, the "parking people around here are total Nazis."
I found this comment jolting. She'd been setting a good tone for the event so far, by welcoming us all with a smile and a joke about the weather. But then she dropped what was for me a sort of bomb.
One hundred or so other people were in the audience, and she'd already moved into introducing the speaker by the time that word had fully registered with me. So it didn't even occur to me to raise my hand or stand up to ask, "Why, exactly, did you label the parking people 'Nazis'?"
But maybe I should have. I suppose most people would've found me rather weird, and annoying, and unnecessarily disruptive. But some might have agreed, and others might have gone on to reconsider their own use of that word, "Nazi," to describe people who aren't actually Nazis.
So just what is it that I think is wrong with this usage?
It's not just that these terms, when used for relatively trivial complaints, are stale, worn-out clichés.
It's also not just the literal inaccuracy of the term, and others like it. That is, it's not the mere fact that those issuing tickets for overdue parking meters were not really Nazis. Nor is the problem with my friend's use of the term "slavedriver" to describe his boss the fact that he's actually free to quit his job whenever he likes. It's not even the fact that his boss doesn't treat him with anywhere near the levels of disdain, cruelty, and entrapment that actual slavedrivers routinely deployed.
Instead, the problem is that when we use terms like "parking Nazis," or "feminazi," or "schedule Nazi," or "wedding Nazi" and so on, to describe ordinary people, we're trivializing the horrors of what the Nazis actually did, especially their calculated, systematic slaughter of millions of people.
In the same way, complaining that your boss is a "slavedriver" or that you "worked like a slave today" trivializes the horrific realities of slavery. In both cases, there's really no comparison.
This is a type of "white whine" that needs to be retired.
Can you think of other examples?
Do you say anything when you hear these types of minor complaints, which trivialize mass oppression?
I certainly hope you don't think instead that I'm just being a "PC Nazi."