Words can offend us in many ways. The following three chapters consider three differing ways in which political correctness seeks to limit our language and thus our thought. This chapter examines the use of language to divide and exclude. Many debates today seek to divide the listeners into groups and then pit those groups against one another. In dividing us by gender, sexual orientation, or race, the speaker creates groups that can then claim offense from the words of some perceived opposing group. In this way, political correctness often transforms innocent speech into insults. One courageous speaker, Dr. Ben Carson, recalls, “Once I was talking to a group about the difference between a human brain and a dog’s brain, and a man got offended. He said, ‘You can’t talk about dogs like that!’”
In fact, Dr. Carson has spoken out consistently against exclusionary speech. As one who has overcome adversity in his life, Dr. Carson has risen to prominence in the medical field (see the FTU Course, How Do People Overcome Adversity? for more on his life). In the following clip, Carson addresses this issue of divisive language in his address to the National Prayer Breakfast in February of 2013.