Many people have probably experienced this: you're with a group of people in some social and/or business gathering. Within a subject or topic being discussed, someone starts to make a comment and then censors themselves because they need to be "politically correct".
They probably say this with a wry smile on their face. The discussion may then turn to how they can't say certain things or express themselves freely "anymore" not just for fear of insulting someone but really because it may affect their job and therefore their livelihood. Those darn, pesky, anti-harassment laws!
This is our new environment. Very rarely do any of us start a new job these days in which we don't have to sign an anti-sexual harassment form. It also usually includes stipulations against using anyone's cultural or ethnic background as an insult as well.
According to the FCC, (http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/understanding-workplace-harassment-fcc-s...)"Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).
Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive."
It is tough to uncover the occurrence of harassment. There have been numerous complaints at al levels in the private and public sectors. A search through the internet, however,does not reveal any specific figures.
Admittedly, it would be difficult separating valid and invalid complaints. One may surmise that some complaints may be frivolous.
Nevertheless, it does happen and hence laws preventing it.
Consider that when some people joke, they are not joking at all. Rather they are making a tentative comment which they can minmize if and when confronted. So may it be with people "joking" about having to be politically correct.
In considering some people's objections to having to be politically correct, it is probably that they don't want to be told whar they can say or not say. Sort of like big brother is not only watching them, but taking away their freedom as well.
But so what? What would make you want to use a cultural reference to criticize or insult someone anyway? There are thousands of words in the English language that are probably more descriptive and appropriate anyway, so pick one of those.
Ultimately, it probably comes down to power. When you can demean a group, you are better than them and have power to say what you want. When the law come along and says "no", the insult is two-fold. Not only can't you say what you want, but now you can't be better than them.
It all goes back to feeling good about yourself enough so that you don't have to put someone else down to build yourself up. Right?