The Friday letter writer, “Cowardly to stop general’s speech,” derided the criticism surrounding retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin’s invitation to speak at West Point as “political correctness” run amok. While there is much to admire about Gen. Boykin, the fact remains that in past public speeches he has marginalized and demonized an entire section of society.
Political correctness should be welcome when it forces us to consider the feelings of others. Maybe we need to rename the term itself. Maybe calling it civility or tactfulness instead would make it more palatable to some people. It seems to me to be about rejecting stereotypes and respecting the human dignity of others by making us consider our words and choosing ones that don’t dehumanize and insult entire groups of people. Honestly, I can’t seem to get too worked up over its application in this case. His withdrawal from consideration as an academy speaker was a wise decision.