Most of my family and friends seem to care greatly on what is considered politically correct. I would be joking if I said I didn't think of this as well, mainly from motivation that I don't want to piss people off. What is it to be considered political correctness (PC), according to Merriam-Webster it is, "conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated." From this it has been considered to be offensive to say anything in regards to people's race. Have you ever heard the joke, what is the first thing someone does before they tell a black joke? They look around the room in every direction.
Now this has progressed to through the years to homosexuals. The F-word has progressed from f@#k to fag. What I just did is because of being PC (but as I said I am not immune). Without people meaning to do so, there has been the elimination of free speech by the PC enforced by cultural norms. But the one that gets to me the most is people silencing and it not being PC to espouse conservative beliefs. I found myself being quiet when someone was going on about global warming and the other day when someone was insulting Bush. Why? Because if I speak out on these ideas then there will be considerable backlash, even if it with family and friends.
The news does this as well and I've seen on several occasions where in politics they will use PC to their benefit in trying to ruin public figures or silencing opposition. Look to the Huffington Post on these two political cartoons(here and here). The second one was creation in parody to the first. Now, which one is really racist may I ask? I personally didn't see this as racist at all especially after this story about the chimp.
This was a classic attempt to silence political opposition which is a constant problem with our media and with those with "progressive" beliefs, which are typically the same that are PC. There is a major problem with this especially when it comes to our political leaders and the main stream media going along with these tactics. What is this country without true political debate and what are we if we have a media that tries to make anyone who criticizes our president seem equivalent to racists or bigots? I do fear for the direction our country is going. The silencing of a point of view of half of the country is a problem. Obama didn't win with a significant majority and regardless of attacks of Limbaugh and Coulter, they do still have many fans.
I believe regardless of the standards upheld by political correctness that if we do not voice or beliefs, what is right and wrong, that our souls are in danger if not the fabric of our society. This is especially true when such standards start to be upheld by the government, which unfortunately isn't too far from the truth (funny I have to go a paper from outside the US for this).