#politicallyincorrect: The Pejoration of Political Language
Keywords:Political Correctness â€” PC Speech â€” Memes â€” Social Media â€” Content Analysis
How is the term â€œpolitical correctnessâ€ understood in the context of modern American politics, particularly in the context of the 2016 election? More specifically, what triggers perceived offensiveness in political language? At the crux of the matter is the distinction between oneself or oneâ€™s social group, those perceived as â€œthe other,â€ and what one is and is not allowed to say in a social forum. This study aims to analyze common language usage and identify factors contributing to the offensification of political language in social media and the types of language in social media that trigger a sense of political outrage. We examine Facebook and Twitter memes, using API searches referring directly to the terms â€œPCâ€ or â€œpolitically correct.â€ Dedoose, a text content-analysis package is used to identify recurring themes in online interactions that are used to criticize perceived political enemies. Results show that themes primarily related to â€œfeminismâ€ and â€œredneckâ€ reflect cross-cutting cleavages in the political landscape primarily related to Hillary Clintonâ€™s candidacy. We also identify significant cleavages in racial identity and quantify these statistically. Our results compliment other recent studies which aim to gauge the impact of social media on political and social polarization.