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Ah, but they forgot that only the Northern Hemisphere has Winter in December!

"And in a gutless act of political correctness, 'Pizza Day' will now be known as 'Italian-American Sauced Bread Day.'"
Principal Seymour Skinner, The Simpsons

This title, taken from a Catch Phrase of the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, can refer to one of two things.

In some cases, this might be literally about political correctness taken too far, presented through a Granola Girl or Soapbox Sadie who embodies the negative aspects of the PC movement.

Alternatively, along the same lines, a governmental authority (often a local council) is accused of being over-zealous to the point of parody in trying to avoid offense to minority groups - not unlike the Culture Police but in the other direction. Certain words or phrases are said to have been "banned", as if Chipping Sodbury Borough Council has any effective power over the English Language or, indeed, anything.

Politically-Correct History is a specific variant where Common Knowledge historical accounts are treated as Fanon to avoid Unfortunate Implications such as Values Dissonance or having to explain Aluminum Christmas Trees.

Usually, a range of urban myths are presented as examples of Political Correctness Gone Mad, such as ...

  • Blackboards in school being renamed "Chalkboards" to avoid offending black people. A lot of them are green, which would be a much more logical reason to change the name. The marker variant, called a "Whiteboard", remains untouched. (Although, some do call them "Wipeboards", as you can wipe the writing off.)
  • Some schools having a "holiday tree" every "Winter Holiday Season," or even more drastic...
  • City councils banning Christmas to avoid offending Jews, Muslims, Pagans, and other religious/non-religious folk[1]
  • Manholes being renamed "Personnel Access Units" to avoid offending women.

All of this is especially ironic, considering that Political Correctness took on its contemporary meaning when the radical left began using it as a self-aware joke about the intrusion of Academic (the capital "A" is required) feminist and socialist argot into their everyday lives. Expect most of those invoking Mars and Venus Gender Contrast to imply, if not state outright, that they're taking a brave stand against this trope in the name of Truth in Television.

A slightly more realistic example is the occasional habit of making up false etymologies for innocuous phrases that supposedly have "unenlightened" origins. For example the claim that crowbars were so named after the "Jim Crow" character and came from their use by slaves [2]. "Xmas" is another common target by those decrying the "taking Christ out of Christmas." Xmas as a term dates back over a thousand years; the "X" comes from the Greek letter "Chi", which was the first letter in the Greek word for "Christ". "Tar baby" is an especially unfortunate victim, since it originated in an African-American folktale, and since became a common expression for "an attractive nuisance" or "a sticky problem".

Parodies typically involve stylized Newspeak used in random areas the original does not cover as well as blatant Windmills.

For more censorship-related hilarity see also Scunthorpe Problem. A specific version of this exists in Japan called Kotobagari, the exclusion of certain "sensitive" words.

A Fractured Fairy Tale is a "reimagined" Fairy Tale often retold from a Politically Correct viewpoint, Played for Laughs.

This is not a place to complain about minor changes that don't make sense to you personally. When adding examples of changes in works due to Executive Meddling, please stick only to those that render the work nonsensical, change its meaning completely, or miss the point of the work altogether.

Examples of political correctness impacting stories

Anime and Manga

  • The 4Kids release of Dragonball Z Kai had the removal of halos from dead characters. Instead, they were replaced by small glowing orbs. Also, blue Mr. Popo[3] . Heck, 4Kids in general could be put here.

Comic Books

  • The majority of comic books in the mid 50's suffered a lot from this, with the Comics Code Authority. After Moral Guardian Fredric Wertham published his book on "Seduction of the Innocent", public reaction was so strong it led to the founding of the CCA. Their job was to pre-approve every comic book before release. The topics banned were such that many genres became obsolete, in particular the horror and action genres. Donald Duck had to wear a shirt even when swimming, or a towel when he was out of the shower, even though he is uncovered below the waist at all other times. Amongst the banned themes were blood, mortal danger, communism, Russians, snakes and more. This period has left its stamp forever and even today comics retain some of these policies.
  • Marvel Comics stopped working with the Comics Code Authority for a while after they refused to approve an anti-drug comic on the basis that the comic had drugs in it.[4] Something the government would have done nothing about because it was their idea.
  • Marvel Comics' Black Panther once changed his name to "Black Leopard" to avoid association with the actual Black Panthers. Of course, this was in 1972, when the latter were active, but still. It was changed back very quickly because in the Marvel Universe the Black Panther is a name that goes back centuries and BP pointed out that he wasn't going to let himself be defined by a group of people he disagreed with anyway.
  • After Infinite Crisis, the DC Comics Christmas one shot was going to be named "Infinite Christmas". It was solicited and advertised as such, but when it actually came out it was called "Infinite Holiday", pretty much eradicating the original pun.
  • In the Uncanny X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills, Kitty's dance teacher Stevie Hunter attempts to keep Kitty from beating up a boy who'd called her a "mutie lover" (not knowing that Kitty herself was a mutant), by telling Kitty that "they're just words." Kitty immediately throws Stevie's seeming hypocrisy in her face, asking her if she'd be so calm had the boy called Kitty a "n****r lover." This is the second time Kitty has used the N-word to highlight hypocrisy and Xenophobia. Both examples got a lot of flak and continue to do so, where a number of readers objected to the use of the word even if it was to make a point about tolerance. (Admittedly, part of said objections were disquiet with explicitly equating fictional prejudice and fictional slurs with real-life prejudice and real life slurs, instead of leaving them in the realm of subtext.)
  • Somewhat lampshaded in Kurt Busiek's run on The Avengers, where the team was forced to add at least one ethnic minority to its decidely-white roster. Iron Man spends most of the issue complaining about how idiotic the notion of "diversity" is, while the Wasp feels crappy after realizing just how few minority members the team actually had up until that point.
    • A much earlier issue from the 1980's had a similar set-up, but with a much more negative message. Hawkeye is unfairly kicked off the team in favor of the Falcon (an African American), and Falcon ultimately quits because he hates the idea of only being asked to join the Avengers to serve as the Token Minority.
  • A major criticism concerning the introduction of Miles Morales, a black/hispanic child who replaces the Ultimate Universe version of Spider-Man after he's killed off. While, legacy characters themselves aren't exactly a problem no matter their race (not to mention that the future, half hispanic, replacement for Spider-Man is a very popular character), except that Miles Morales was specifically created to be a black version of Spider-Man. The creators and current EIC defended this as 'not being political corectness', but when you kill off a white character for no reason other than to replace them and their replacement's entire reason for creation being 'to be black', it really comes off as having a Token Minority version of Spider-Man.


  • The film Elf, a film unabashedly related to the Christmas holiday starring, y'know, one of Santa's elves, had the tagline of "This Holiday, Discover Your Inner-Elf". Presumably in the film, the cast learns of the true meaning of Holiday.
    • This is a common problem in basically every field. Even if something is clearly about Christmas, or a family is shown celebrating a holiday that is clearly Christmas (the calendar itself is saying that it's December 25), mention of the word "Christmas" will often be bowdlerized into "Holiday," "Holidays," or "The Holidays," usually in the marketing campaigns.
  • In Germany, the swastikas on all promotional material for Inglourious Basterds are censored. While the depiction of swastikas is technically illegal in Germany, the law clearly states that this ban does not apply to works of art (among other things). The law, however, does not exempt commercial use and advertising, so leaving the swastika out of promotional material is actually prescribed.


  • The non-fiction book Who Stole the News mentions an incident when a reporter on an aircraft carrier was reprimanded for saying that the blast from a jet plane could "blow a man overboard". He was told to change it to 'person', whereupon he pointed out a) there were no women on board US navy aircraft carriers in a combat zone (it was the first Gulf War) and b) it was a Man Overboard drill not a Person Overboard drill.
  • The Language Police by Diane Ravitch is about this phenomenon, specifically when applied to textbooks. It even includes a huge glossary of "banned words" and other material that has been banned from the texts.
  • While considered English classics, both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn get a lot of flak for their use of the word "n****r", despite the fact that it is politically appropriate for the setting, and neither of the books condone slavery. In fact, the latter book revolves around a slave's journey to freedom.
    • In fact this is played for laughs in one joke edition of the book, where "n****r" is replaced with the fat more politically, if not actually, correct "robot"
  • In Michael Flynn's The January Dancer, Donovan uses this ironically, addressing a rock — excuse me, silicon-based lifeform.

News and other Media

  • This brief, isolated, yet hilarious example
  • Subverted: when the Smithsonian "Museum of the American Indian" opened, a petition quickly pulled up to change it to "Native American". It was quashed by request of none other than the Muscogee High Chief. Most of the complaints for Indians aren't made by Indians. Furthermore, the museum is not about "Native Americans" but is about all of the people indigenous to the New World.
  • Related: a college campus newspaper once interviewed flautist R. Carlos Nakai, who objected to the term 'Native American'. He preferred instead to be referred to as a member of his specific tribe, or even generically as an 'Indian' (the reasoning being that the term 'Indian' was the result of an honest mistake that just happened to stick, whereas 'Native American' imposes a nationality not of his choosing). Nonetheless, the article went on to refer to Nakai as a Native American at least five times after he voiced his objection!
  • The Guardian, a left-liberal British newspaper which is the exact polar opposite of the Daily Mail, insists in its style and usage guide to contributors that the word "actress" is now obsolete, and all members of the thespian profession, regardless of gender, should be described as "actors". As many (but by no means all) female thespians prefer to be called "actors" these days, this is perhaps for the good and takes individual wishes into account. The Guardian's stablemate, the Sunday Observer, appears to ask first how the lady wishes to be described and uses actress/actor according to her wishes. However, this came unstuck when one day the Guardian had to publish an obituary for a deceased Italian film director, who in life had been a notorious Berlusconi with regard to the casting couch. It found itself using the phrase "He was notorious for the sheer number of aspiring young actors who he seduced" - thus, in accepted general English usage, giving the celebrated director a 100% turnabout in his gender preferences, recasting him in death as a predatory gay man.
  • In the "Selfless White Sensitivity for Native Americans' Sake" category, the NCAA attempted to strike North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" team name as "derogatory". Basic summary of the response to the NCAA by actual Sioux: "Fuck you."


  • When Star Trek Voyager was launched, media described Tuvok as an "African-American Vulcan" when, as an alien, he was neither African nor American. Of course, the actor is.

Video Games

  • The Pokémon Jynx was originally designed with black "skin" and is based on a combination of a Japanese spirit called a yama-uba and ganguro women. A woman named Carole Boston Weatherford complained about Jynx's racial offensiveness since they resemble the golliwog, a racist caricature, so Jynx has since been redesigned to be purple. Complaints about the changes still persist.
  • Players of World of Warcraft used to be able to get a pet Maine Coon cat until a small but extremely vocal group of players whined to have it removed. When other players pointed out that Maine Coon was a real life breed of cat and not racist in any way (they're so big legend has it the breed was created by interbreeding with raccoons), the other side refused to admit defeat and instead pointed out that "There's no Maine in Azeroth!" End result, the pet was renamed and is now a Black Tabby. (note: it never looked like a Maine Coon even before the change, so it was an odd choice of name in the first place. Probably NOT why people complained about it, though)
    • The developers also "chose" to change the name of the weapon "The Nicker" to "The Blackrock Slicer" because the former name was enough to create a hurricane of racist jokes among the vocal and stupid members of the community. Originally it was called that because it was a two-handed battle axe with a blade in the shape of an oversized razor blade; the joke being that getting cut with it was like nicking yourself shaving, only much worse.
  • In City Ville, players can build a Wedding Hall as a Community Building. It looks like a church, with no other religious iconography. After arguments that it wasn't inclusive enough, Wedding Halls are now a nondescript building with two giant rings on it. Those who already had the church can still keep it.

Web Examples

  • In 2010, Microsoft banned someone from X Box Live because he (truthfully) identified his home location as Fort Gay, West Virginia (the town's actual name). Fortunately, they retracted the ban after the town representatives spoke up. They also banned someone for entering "Dick Wood" into the name field of their X Box Live account. His name is, in fact, Richard Wood. No word on if they ever rescinded the ban, or if he's just barred from their service because they find his name objectionable.
  • Some of the examples on the pages for Family-Unfriendly Aesop, Unfortunate Implications, and other related tropes can dip into this when people start reading too deeply into things. Please don't list anything specific, alright?
  • The online comics community scans_daily is probably more famed for this than for anything else, with a long list of rules that is dedicated almost solely to how not to offend anybody (and thus get banned), with the rules for posting comics as almost an afterthought.
    • Livejournal in general - not surprising, as it hosts a lot of social justice blogs and members. Tumblr as well.
      • It's particularly bad on Tumblr if you go there just to look for cool fandom-related pics and fun and have to slough through lots of political angst and depressing stuff because the content, even on some supposedly fandom-specific blogs, is so mixed. So if you go looking for, say, some funny gifs of the latest Doctor Who episode, you probably have to scroll through numerous posts about rape, homophobia, sexism, racism, reproductive rights, sexual/gender angst and all kinds of political and personal wangst just to get to the fun stuff. If you haven't slit your wrists halfway through because of all the injustice and misery being shoved in your face, that is.
      • Something Awful's fallen headlong into this, too. Then again, considering the fact that banning people is part of how they earn their living, their reasons are probably far more pragmatic than ideological.

Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes shorts have been victims of this for a long time. Many older shorts are sprinkled with content no longer considered suitable for children, which means that some scenes get cut and leave the overall effect pretty disjointed. Others are never shown on kids TV at all anymore, only to adults who seek them out and are assumed to be able to understand the context they were written in.
    • The DVD releases for most of the older (pre-1960s) animated shorts now come with a disclaimer regarding how such racist overtones were once acceptable behavior, but the publishing company is only including it to be accurate.
  • Due to multiple unfortunate coincidences, Derpy's original portrayal in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Roundup" unintentionally ended up being easy to see as being offensive. Due to complaints after it aired, the episode was given an Orwellian Retcon: Rainbow Dash uses a less harsh tone of voice with Derpy, Derpy's name isn't mentioned, Derpy's eyes are less googly, and Derpy has a different voice. Even more people complained, and there were everything from petitions to open letters just to try and undo changes to one minute's worth of footage in this single episode.
    • When the show's Canadian broadcaster Treehouse TV airs the episodes "Boast Busters", ""Call of the Cutie", and "Party of One", all instances of the word "loser" are replaced with silence. For older viewers, this has the opposite effect of its obvious censorship intentions, since it leads them to mentally insert a derogatory word of choice automatically when they don't hear the actual (rather benign) word.
  • Disney's Pocahontas is often accused of this, but it actually wasn't that bad - although it did feature a very bowdlerized Politically-Correct History (albeit with a Politically-Incorrect Villain), for a story that claims to be based on real events.

Examples of political correctness being parodied


  • Audi used this in their Green Police Ads. Essentially the gestapo in smart cars.
  • Virgin Mobile used this in their advertisements during the winter of 2007-2008. [1]
  • Snickers had a football team being blessed before the big game by about twenty different holy men, a priest, a rabbi, an American Indian shaman, etc, all in the name of Political Correctness, with the implication this was going to take all afternoon.

Anime and Manga

  • The Axis Powers Hetalia OVA "Paint It White" is about a race of aliens who use light to change everyone into gray emotionless faceless humanoid creatures, in an attempt to get them to stop fighting and pouting. They set up a base with Off-Model versions of several countries' famous landmarks around it.

Comic Books

  • For a brief period in X-Factor, mutants were known as "genetically challenged" or "geecees" for short. The character who coined the phrase was being funny, but it still caught on . . .
  • An old strip from The Wizard of Id had the King of Id threatening to imprison anyone caught telling ethnic jokes. When one of his guards quips "We don't have a Chinaman's chance of making that stick," the next panel shows said guard in the dungeon.
  • Wet Blanket from Empowered personifies this trope. Strangely, working together with supervillains is no problem for him.
  • The independent comic Druid City features a Straw Feminist character named Carla Cortez who supports ridiculously politically correct causes. She once lobbied to changed the name of Asperger's Syndrome, and protests that female cockroaches should be renamed vaginaroaches.


  • The movie PCU is a Wacky Fratboy Hijinx film set against the backdrop of a I-can't-believe-it's-not-Berkeley college where everybody protests everything. The movie's climax actually had the students protest that they were not going to protest.
  • Parodied in Undercover Brother; the all-black B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D organisation has exactly one white employee, Lance (who is stereotypically 'white' — i.e nerdy, uncool and lame), who only has his job there because of affirmative action. He's often heard complaining about their politically incorrect attitudes towards him.

 Lance: Always trying to shut the white man down.

Conspiracy Brother: THAT'S RIGHT! That's Right!... Oh, ain't right.

  • In the remake of the film The Lady Killers, one of the characters (a foul-mouthed, "gangsta" black teen) is fired for hitting on a female customer. When he hears he's fired, he says his boss is doing it because he's black. The entire cleaning staff is black, and the guy doesn't fall for it until they bribe him.
  • In Dmitry Puchkov's Gag Dub of Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, Elrond insists on calling elves "Elven-Americans" to be PC.
  • In RoboCop 2, Robocop is revamped to be a more politically-correct role model by having over two hundred directives installed in his brain to teach "pro-social" messages (as defined by a committee). It drives him effectively insane.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Sgt. Angel is such a By-The-Book Cop that he constantly interrupts his fellow officers to insert correct terminology (police service because police force is too aggressive, etc)
  • In Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen trolls a black talk show audience by, among other things, describing Africa as being full of "African-Americans" and, when corrected, insisting that "Africans" is an offensive term.
  • Demolition Man takes place in a strange future where everything improper has been completely scrubbed out of society, including anything that could possibly be offensive.
  • Blackboard Jungle has the teacher of a notoriously troublemaking class demonstrate how hurtful their use of slurs can be. One of the students then tries to get him in trouble by reporting him for using those words in class, deliberately leaving out the context. Luckily, the teacher is quickly believed when he explains the truth.


  • Kurt Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron parodies the attitude of those who shriek about trying to generate more equality in society. It takes place in a future dystopia where everyone has been made equal by handicapping devices which curtail excess intelligence, strength, creativity, beauty, or any other natural advantage (and if you had an unnatural advantage, such as skill due to training, you were only allowed to use it to make yourself average). There's even a government official (The "Handicapper General") whose job is to oversee this. She's fond of using shotguns as a tool of equality. The TV movie had a similar take. The government remakes the world to look like the 1950s (because that's when Americans are thought to have been happiest); the death penalty is enforced--on live television--for crimes like jaywalking; in schools, you fail if you score too low... but also if you score too high; you're supposed to be embarrassed if you beat someone in chess too easily... And people are in favor of all this. One government official (in order to rule, of course, they must be free of the devices that inhibit them) explains to Harrison in a borderline non-sequitur that while this has resulted in a marked decline in, for example, the arts, if it had meant an end to atrocities like what happened in World War II, he would put the gun to Beethoven's temple (they were listening to Beethoven while watching footage of World War II) himself.

    Also, in The Sirens of Titan, the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent has people handicap themselves so that everybody is equal--for instance, a good runner always carries a heavy bag to slow him down, or somebody with good eyesight wears glasses that nearly blind him.
  • In the atheist-ruled world of Soon by Jerry Jenkins, Christmas has been replaced by 'Wintermas'. Apparently Jenkins felt that having 'Christ' in the world would have offended the Straw Atheist world government but the word 'mas(s)' is left untouched.
  • Some Discworld novels feature the Campaign for Equal Heights, who protest about using terms like "short weight", and insist employers should hire three dwarfs for every two humans because humans are half again as tall. Most of their campaigners are human; dwarfs are baffled by the whole thing. (And if they do feel insulted by humans, they can make their feelings quite clear without any help, except possibly a battleaxe. Generally, though, a dwarf will answer such insults by outworking a human, making better stuff, getting more money, and buying his business out from under him.)
    • There is also at least one human who has renamed himself Strong-in-the-arm and cranked up his prices because "Dwarf Made" is a synonym for quality. The Campaign for Equal Heights can't complain because it would require them to draw attention to his height as a disqualifying point.
    • There are also the "differently alive" (not "undead") like vampires (hereditary) and banshees, not the same as "living impaired" for those who have died but are still walking around, or "vitally challenged" (not "dead") persons. Except in rare instances that those who have died and aren't walking around are considered lazy by people who should really know better (Reg Shoe, mostly). There was also, for a brief time, a group of humans who wanted to protect troll rights. Trolls never joined, because they thought they already had plenty of rights, what with being multi-ton masses of living stone.
  • In Goblet of Fire and continuing on afterward, Hermione founds S.P.E.W. in order to free the house elves from slavery. The majority of the characters roll their eyes at this, suggesting that Hermione is taking it too far. It's later revealed that even the elves are against it, since they enjoy serving others. Dobby later tells Hermione that the house elves appreciate her sentiment and that she's thinking of their well-being, but what they don't appreciate is that she was trying to trick them into accepting clothing against their will, making them regard her as something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • Latter subverted when it's suggested that the S.P.E.W. ideals motivated some house-elves to participate in the Battle of Hogwarts, and Harry attempting to be nice to Kreacher prompts the elf to tell him about the location of a horcrux.
  • A story by Connie Willis called Ado, in which a high school student was trying to get her fellow classmates to read Shakespeare's plays while increasingly bizarre censorship blanked out the text entirely. For example, one group got Polonius's death in Hamlet censored because "curtains don't kill people, people kill people." Moreover Interflora wanted the scene where Ophelia is gathering flowers removed because it reflected badly on flowers. In the end only the very first scene between the guards complaining about the cold night was left. It was short some lines to boot.
  • Incompetence by Rob Grant is set in a future United States of Europe where (based on actual laws proposed in France) it is illegal to discriminate against candidates for employment not only on the grounds of gender, age, race or creed, but on actual ability to do the job, with predictable results.
    • Mad Magazine, appropriately enough, had an article like this wherein at the close of the article one person got to join the NBA despite being dead, and the horrible circus accident where a six-foot-tall "midget" clown suffocated inside a clown car along with his three-foot-tall co-workers because of being hired via affirmative action.
    • A sketch from Not the Nine O'Clock News went even further: the dead worker should be paid overtime because he spends so much time in the office.
    • It was also a Tom Lehrer one-liner.
  • A duo of "children's books" called Politically Correct Bedtime Stories take this trope and run wild with it, to the point of parody and turning the old classics into something new and amusing in their own right. Ant and the Grasshopper? Ant gets arrested for illegal stockpiling. Princess and the Pea? The "Princess" turns out to be a medium who channels many different spirits, which makes for interesting mealtimes at the castle. Little Mermaid? The rescued prince ends up getting a genetic procedure done so that he becomes half-man, half-prawn, instead of her going to live up with him. And then there was the "Politically Correct Alphabet"...
  • Though this is never explicitly stated in the book, it's likely that Political Correctness Gone Mad played a role in the development of the Utopia Justifies the Means society of The Giver. Even color is eliminated. Not just skin color — all color except black, grey and white. And couples don't actually reproduce through intercourse, but are assigned exactly two children (children are born to specifically designated Birth Mothers who are never seen) and every citizen begins taking medication during puberty to suppress "the Stirrings".
  • There is a story called The Highest Treason by Randall Garrett. A society where you cannot say that one man can be better than another in anything, promotion is strictly according to age, and that society is quickly losing a war against aliens. So, the protagonist, as a desperate patriot, joins the enemy, helps them conquer a planet, and slaughters the people there, showing the humanity that one person can be worse than another. In the end, the humanity is victorious, and their philosophy is now that one man cannot be better than another in everything.
  • The backstory of Fahrenheit 451 gives this as the reason for the censorship and banning of virtually all printed literature. Word of God states his point was television dumbing down people too much so they banned books because thinking become too strenuous. Guess he should have focused on the dumbness part more.
  • The second Odd Thomas book, Forever Odd, has a hand in this. The Pico Mundo high school football team used to be called the Braves. Someone got it into their head that this offended the Native Americans in the area and so the school was forced to change their name to the Gila Monsters. They call themselves the Monsters, though, saving some embarrassment. The really stupid thing about this? NONE OF THE INDIANS WERE COMPLAINING. Truth in Television since most of the complaints for Indians aren't made by Indians. In fact, when the Smithsonian "Museum of the American Indian" opened, a petition quickly pulled up to change it to "Native American". It was quashed by a request from none other than the Muscogee High Chief.
  • In Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, Acheron (the villain) insists he's differently moraled.
  • In the Swedish YA novel Omin Hammbe i Slättköping, Omin (a black kid, in fact the only kid in town who isn't purely ethnic Swedish) performs a prank with two friends at school. When he is exempt from punishment because the headmaster is afraid of looking racist, he gets very angry because the treatment is racist in itself: is the headmaster saying he can't be hold responsible for what he does because he is black (i.e., he's stupid)? That he cannot take detention because he is from Africa? He insists on going through with detention.


  • "Politically Correct Christmas" by Metropolitan Melinda
  • "Happy Whatever You're Having" by the Therapy Sisters
  • "A Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Chanukah/Ramadan/Boxing Day Song" by Christine Lavin & the Mistletones
  • "You Don't Bring Me Floriculturally Diverse Polyfragrant Soilistically Challenged Multipetaled Victims of Pesticidal Food Chain Chauvinism" by the Capitol Steps.
  • Stan Freberg did this back in 1957, when he sang (purportedly at the insistence of a Moral Guardian) "Elderly Man River", with political correctness and proper grammar and pronunciation — i.e., ridiculously Bowdlerized.

 He doesn't plant taters — potatoes

He doesn't plant cotton — cotting[5]

And them's — thesethose that plant them

Are soon forgotting...

    • Upon coming to the "you get a little drunk, and you land in..." line he gives up.
  • "Alternative Tango" by Victoria Wood, in which she comes up with a number of different euphemism for her insult of choice, which has now been banned.
  • A Capella group Straight No Chaser's "Christmas Can-Can"; in the second verse one singer complains, "It's not fair if you're Jewish," and then breaks into the Dreidel Song("Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay,"). During the second verse he flatly states, "I'm gonna go get some Chinese food", before the other singers include him in their song, wishing him a happy Hanukkah(and merry Kwanzaa to their African-American singer).

Stand-up Comedy

  • Russell Peters has a piece where he's playing Bla... oh, sorry, African-Americanjack.
  • Larry the Cable Guy did a routine where he translated Twas The Night Before Christmas into PC-speak. Non-Denominational Holiday Figure's trademark "ho ho ho" was replaced with "lady-of-the-evening lady-of-the-evening lady-of-the-evening"
    • It was a regular feature on Blue Collar TV. He also had Snow Caucasian and the Seven Handy Capable Little Persons (including Mood-Enhanced Little Person, Slightly Mentally Impaired Little Person, and Little Person in Need of Anger Management, among others), Vertically-Challenged Native American Riding Hood, and The Tortoise and the Hare and the Non-Competitive Fun Run. There were a few others, but I can't remember their titles. All versions lampshade this trope endlessly.
  • Bill Bailey : "[...] and a feminist jumped out of a manhole and she didn't like that".
  • British comic Stewart Lee does a brilliant routine defending political correctness by discussing how insisting "political correctness has gone mad" has lost meaning due to people using it as a Straw Man for everything they disagree with:

 [On his Nan abusing the term to confusion] "In the old days, you could get your head and you could submerge it in a vat of boiling acid, and now they're going 'Oh, don't do that, what if Jews see it? It'll annoy the Jews'."

  • Robin Williams, in reference to people complaining about mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance, suggested, "How about, 'One Nation, under Canada, over Mexico'!"


  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a banner in the Magic Box for multiple December holidays including a fictional one regarding someone's Ascension.
  • Angel
    • Wesley once appeared with a black eye after saving a pair of power walkers from being devoured by a Hacklar demon. The injury wasn't inflicted by the demon.

 Wesley: Apparently she felt I'd disrespected the Hacklar's culture by killing it.

    • In the fifth season Harmony proves to be extremely accepting of cultural differences, arguing in defense of a cultural imperative to dismember virgins, and bringing a live camel into the office so Angel could slaughter it and offer pieces of it to their clients. Of course, she doesn't have a soul.
    • Season one had an episode called "Sense and Sensitivity" which gleefully parodied this trope. A demon used magic to cause the L.A.P.D. e to become politically correct beyond the point of lunacy, not only in order to control them, but to cause general mayhem. In a day, all the police are "sharing their feelings", that is, babbling incoherently and pathetically about all the injustice and pain in the world, and showing weakness and an aversion to violence in front of hardened criminals. The entire precinct is almost overrun.
  • Some TV shows will have someone use the expression "pot calling the kettle black", and the black people will give this person a look. Some people have claimed that the phrase had its origins in a phrase which was racist[6]. Patently absurd when you consider it's been used as far back as Don Quixote in the 1600's when the transatlantic slave trade was barely beginning.
    • In an episode of All in The Family, Archie did this intentionally. When a black man said that Hispanic people tended to avoid birth control, Archie responded, "Well ain't that the black calling the kettle pot?"
  • Scrubs:
    • There was an episode where Elliot had apparently been practically assaulted for singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" at a karaoke, and outright told she, as a white person, could never try to sing that song. At the end of the episode she does again and is given a murderous look by a black doctor.
    • Another episode featured JD on a first date with his new girlfriend (who is black). During the date they end up at the hospital and JD orders a resident to do something trivial before laughing about it...

 JD: It's so great because the residents are practically our slaves.

In JD's head: Ah! I just said "slave" to my new, black girlfriend!

  • Thirty Rock
    • In one episode, Liz discovered that she simply could not tell her black date that she disliked him as a person without being Mistaken for Racist. At the end of the episode, the following conversation is set to inspirational music:

 Liz: Can't one human being not like another human being? Can't we all just not get along?

Steven: Liz, I wish it could be like that. And maybe someday our children or our children's children will hate each other like that, but it just doesn't work that way today.

Liz: So what you're saying is that any woman that doesn't like you is a racist.

Steven: No, no, no, no, no. Some women are gay.

  • In the first episode of My Name Is Earl, Earl refers to a gay man as "gay", then to avoid offending him follows up with, "Sorry... Homosexual-American?"
  • A Touch of Frost has Detective Frost wincing every time he accidentally uses a phrase like 'keeping in the black' in front of his black coworker. She eventually tells him that he doesn't need to alter the English language for her.
    • Another episode has Frost make racist comments about a new black officer, but only when Mullet is around. Just to screw with him.
  • Thoroughly parodied in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Santa Claus with the song Merry Christmas... If That's Okay.
  • An episode of The Thin Blue Line parodied this, with Fowler ordered to get everyone at the station up to standard on political correctness. He makes a series of embarrassingly awful attempts to express enlightened views about race, gender and sexuality: "That would be the pot calling the kettle ... er ... African-American!" Even more absurd in that the series is set in Britain.
  • The main schtick of Dean Pelton on Community (aside from being not-so Ambiguously Gay) is going overboard with political correctness. In the first Christmas episode he wishes people a "Merry Happy" and in the second, the college has designated "religious expression zones" with Christmas trees and menorahs cordoned off with yellow tape.
    • In an attempt to create a school mascot with no features anyone could identify as stereotypically of a specific race, they ended up with a grey skinned, Uncanny Valley dwelling horror known as the "Greendale Human Being."
  • In the Doctor Who new series episode "The Shakespeare Code", William Shakespeare tries to hit on Martha, but ends up offending her when he calls her a "gorgeous Blackamoor lady". In response to this, the Doctor explains to him that she comes from a fictitious "Freedonia" involving a lot of Political Correctness Gone Mad.
  • One MacGruber skit involved MacGruber being sent to learn about being racially sensitive after accidentally insulting an assistant, an African-American guy. MacGruber takes it so much to heart, he can't even say the names of colors like black or yellow (an insulting name for Asian people). Unfortunately, that's not the end of it.
  • Almost Live did a lot of good-natured sending up of political correctness, especially as it related to Seattle's liberal reputation and culture. One such sketch is linked here.
  • No Reservations, Ace of Cakes, and Dirty Jobs did Generic Holiday Episodes; Anthony Bourdane and Mike Rowe did endless Lampshading. When Duff & Co. made a cake for No Reservations's holiday feast, they included all the holiday symbols.
  • When Dick discovered white guilt on 3rd Rock from the Sun: "Angel food cake is white, devil's food cake black! Who gets to make the first move in chess? The white guys!"
  • The Seinfeld episode "The Cigar Store Indian" has Jerry insulting his Native American girlfriend with the eponymous item, and spending the rest of the episode struggling with things like telling her he made a "reservation" at a restaurant. Eventually she dumps him when he offends an Asian mailman by asking where a good Chinese restaurant is (figuring that as a mailman he'd know the neighborhood).
  • X-Play wishes all of its viewers a "Happy Non-Denominational Winter Season". The winter shows with this theme tend to depict the hosts with a forced air of polite cheer and vodka in place of their cocoa.


  • The Complete History of America (Abridged) includes a politically correct version of "America the Beautiful." Among other alterations to the lyrics, "God" is replaced with "non-theologically specific supreme being (if she exists)."

Video Games

  • When Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa was still running, it featured this trope for the holiday season. The AFS referred to it as "Seasonal Holiday Observance" or SHO, where major military bases would sport a "Festive Seasonal Holiday Observance Flora" (Christmas tree), under which soldiers could find "Holiday Hats" (a Santa Claus hat). The political correctness was probably tongue-in-cheek given the overblown military acronym style of the names.
  • Graham Nelson's seminal interactive fiction game Curses used the phrase, "Call a spade a spade." This lead to protests from a surprising number of people who thought this was a racist phrase, when in fact it comes from ancient greek and really does refer to spades.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, this was Mr. Mination's fatal flaw: He refused to wear the Monarch of Crimbo's hat, since the color red is offensive to the colorblind, and the fur trim is offensive to naked mole rats. If you choose to fight Uncle Crimbo and win, he throws that hat on the ground, allowing Uncle Crimbo to take it, get his power back, and split Mr. Mination back into his composite elves.

Web Original

  • On Homestar Runner, resident Granola Girl Marzipan hosts a disturbingly politically correct school program called L.U.R.N. in the Strong Bad Email coloring. Students are referred to as "life-blossoms", classes are in a variety of environmentally conscious topics such as "eco-algebra" and "talking to animals", and coloring is done with crayons that have "politically correct" names (like "Crimson Suggestion" for "red") and can't actually be used to color, "so that no one life-blossom shines brighter than any other".
  • In Red vs. Blue, Andy is a sentient bomb, and Caboose tells everyone to refer to him as an "Explosive-American."
    • Don't even get Doc started with this. Any time anyone says anything that could possibly be construed as offensive toward anyone at all, he jumps in with the inane politically correct version. Most notable in one of the holiday specials, where he constantly corrects even himself.
    • Sarge, of course, would have nothing to do with it. It doesn't work out well for him.
  • "Piracy" is such a condemning word. How about "pre-emptive nautical salvage experts"?
  • Speaking of World of Warcraft, The original Scourge Chat Log had a spider "discriminated against on the basis of his spinal condition" (he hasn't got one).

 [BlizzardRep]: Phylumism, were it an actual thing, would go against everything we stand for as a corporation.

[An00b’arak]: yes thats what ive been saying thank you thank you

[An00b’arak]: >8< >8> <8< <8> >8< spider priiiiiide



Western Animation

  • The basic idea behind The Goode Family.
  • In a latter-day episode of The Simpsons, the school is segregated according to gender by a staunch feminist, and Lisa is so disappointed with said feminist's "How do numbers make you feeeeeeeeel?" style of teaching (complete with light show) that she crossdresses herself into the boy school, which descended into chaos.
    • In the 90's flashback episode, Marge's college teacher Professor August is being consistently and obnoxiously politically correct about everything he says and does, going way beyond an ordinary Soapbox Sadie.
    • In an earlier episode, the kids bought ice cream from an ice cream van called "Native American Ice Cream (formerly Big Chief Crazy Cone)".
  • South Park does this one several times a season. In "Death Camp of Tolerance", the kids are sent to the eponymous camp after they complain about Mr. Garrison being "gay"... when they're trying to say that Mr. Garrison is performing sexual acts in front of the class. At said camp, they are held at gunpoint and deprived of food.
    • Subverted in that he WAS doing it to try to get fired, then sue the school for discrimination and make out like a bandit. He had actually tried just about everything OTHER then blatant sex acts in front of the class before resorting to it.
    • It was also subverted in "Death Camp of Tolerance", when, after having just emerged from the Museum of Tolerance - where the boys were encouraged by the curator and their parents to be accepting of the life-choices of others - the curator yells at a smoker to go away (even though he was outside and away from the doors), with the parents joining in by calling him "dirty lungs", among other things.
    • At the conclusion of the episode, after Garrison tries to explain, the town conclude Garrison and his lover, Mr. Slave, hate themselves. For hating gay people, they are sent to the Camp. Mr. Slave likes it.
    • Additionally, in "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson", Randy Marsh (Stan's dad) gets hounded everywhere as "that N****r Guy" because he accidentally used a racial epithet on national television, (A quick explanation of how- It was wheel of fortune, the bonus round, the clue was "People that annoy you" and the letters were N_GGERS. The answer? Naggers.) even after he literally kisses Jesse Jackson's ass while seeking forgiveness. This episode slowly turns into a subversion of the trope by the end, though, when Congress becomes so outraged by the oppression of Randy Marsh and others like him that they ban the epithet "N****r Guy", stating that while "n****r" and "guy" are perfectly acceptable words on their own, put together they're unspeakably repressive. This pronouncement was done with a smash-cut to a group of black people exchanging glances that essentially said "What the fuck?!"
    • "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" in which Mrs. Brofloski protests the school's Christmas play so that the school will remove the overtly Christian elements. The priest counter-protests that if they take Christ out of Christmas, they'll need to take out all the stuff about Santa Claus as well. They have to take down the Christmas tree due to objections by environmentalists and the lights because it may offend epileptics. One person even claims to be offended by mistletoe, though they don't explain why. So, what they get is an abstract avant-garde musical, with all the third graders prancing around in black unitards to ambient music and chanting. It's not received well, and the audience breaks out into a riot. At the end, Mr. Hankey delivers the Stock Aesop about how Christmas is about people being nice to each other and baking cookies. Cut to Jesus, alone in his TV studio, sadly singing "Happy Birthday to Me."
    • Another episode has Cartman throwing a rock at Token because he thought Token called him fat. Because Token is black, the police consider it a hate crime and put Cartman in juvie. The boys (including Token) get him pardoned with a presentation they call "Hate Crime Laws-A Vicious Hypocrisy" which "made more sense than any presentation I've heard all year" according to the governor.
  • In the Sealab 2021 episode "The Policy", nearly everyone on Sealab abuses the affirmative action policy to get promoted to Captain... except for Quinn, who's too proud and too sensible, and Stormy, who's too stupid.
    • "Don't go out there, that black chick is crazy!"
  • The animated show Pelswick had some examples of this. The title character, who uses a wheelchair, is often referred to as "differently able". In one episode he anonymously published a cartoon in the school paper that people objected to on the grounds that "differently able" people might be offended by it... and then blithely withdrew their complaints when it came out that Pelswick was the artist.
  • Lampshaded in Venture Brothers where Jefferson Twilight fights Blackulas for a living. When asked if he only fights African-American vampires, he responds "No, sometimes I fight British vampires, they don't have African-Americans in England! ...Look, I specialize in hunting black vampires, I don't know what the PC name for that is." The stealth joke here is that he probably does it so that white vampire hunters don't get accused of being racist when they kill black vampires.
    • The in-universe explanation is that Jefferson saw his mother be raped and killed by Blaculas when he was ten.

 Doctor Orpheus: Wow.


Examples of stories complaining about it

Anime and Manga

  • There's an episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei about prejudice. Near the end of the episode, Nozomu is about to have sex with a gay man because he thought that turning down his advances would be offensive. He did not enjoy it.


  • At least 50% of Mallard Fillmore. The other 50% being Author Filibusters.
  • Superman's denouncing of his U.S. citizenship had people raving that an American hero was being taken from them for the sake of being PC. In reality, however, Superman's reasons make a lot of sense, he's a hero to everybody, not just the States, and he doesn't want to feel like he has to be loyal to just one country, when the whole world needs his help. Also a case of Did Not Do the Research or They Just Didn't Care on the part of the author about looking into the matter of Superman's citizenship, because at one time it was stated that he held honorary citizenship in pretty much every single country in the world, already making him a citizen of Earth. Combined with this, his decision to renounce his American citizenship and only his American citizenship is why it's interpreted as a deliberate snub.


  • In the first Harry Potter book, Uncle Vernon is presented as a Mail reader and makes some comments indicating a reactionary viewpoint.
  • In the book version of Layer Cake, one chapter shows the protagonist at a barbershop with his con artist friend, who is pretending to be plummy aristocrat "Lord Hugo". In this persona, he expresses some very "Mailesque" views (reinstating national service, complaining about giving Hong Kong back to the "slope heads", etc.) and hearty endorsement from both the other patrons and the staff. At the same time, the protagonist is pretending to be a South American footballer who doesn't speak English and is addressed to his face as a dago and similar ethnic slurs.
  • Harry Flashman is an interesting case. He subverts Politically-Correct History through being a man of views typical to his kind: extremely racist and politically incorrect, speaking of what we would consider unambiguously good individuals like anti-slavery activists as crazy liberals. However, the author increasingly uses him to point out the follies of the above as the series progresses.
  • Granted, he lived before political correctness existed, but Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond is definitely one of the most reactionary heroes in Edwardian mystery/suspense, even though he was written in an already pretty reactionary time. Drummond was fond of flogging communist villains to an inch of their lives and these villains tended to be Jewish intellectuals. In one encyclopedia of mystery fiction, the editor posits that were Drummond an actual person he would likely have become a committed Black Shirt during the 1930s and 40s.
  • The Discworld books feature a few jokes depicting people who object to the increasing numbers of non-humans in Ankh-Morpork as ill-informed buffoons at best.


  • Brad Paisley and the Buckaroos released the "Cowboy Christmas Song", with the word Christmas getting bleeped, then the word White, finally leading them to sing the original version, ignoring the bleeps.
  • The USAF fighter pilot band Dos Gringos has a song called You Gotta Be In The Guard, which decries the increasing restrictions on fighter pilot behavior. The Air National Guard, according to them, is more lenient on conduct than the Air Force.

Stand-Up Comedy

  • One of George Carlin's last performances includes a rant about how the search for political correctness has masked the true nature of the things they are being renamed. He highlights this with the evolution of the term "Shell Shock" to what it's now usually called, "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder".


  • DCI Gene Hunt from Life On Mars is highly politically incorrect and rather popular with the viewing public because of it. One of his more printable quotes is:

 Gene: Dealers are so scared, we're more likely to get Helen Keller to talk. The Paki's in a coma, the evidence is about as hard as Liberace's dick when he's looking at a naked woman, and all in all, this case is going about as fast as a bunch of spastics in a magnet factory! [[[Beat]]] What?

Sam: I think you left out the Jews....

  • One subplot on The Sopranos involved the fiercely Italian guys from Tony's crew butting heads with a Native American group protesting their town's Columbus Day parade.
  • In one episode of Jonathan Creek, a police officer who rails against the death penalty being abolished turns out to have been the murderer and becomes the subject of a rather dark version of Hypocritical Humor.
    • Subverted when Adam gets interested in endurance stunts, and has himself crucified in the park. Exactly zero people care.
  • A season two episode of Rescue Me Kenny insults Laura, the only female firefighter in the house. After her complaint to HQ, the firehouse is subjected to sensitivity training, complete with condescending instructor and even-more condescending video. On the instructor's question of "So what did we learn today?" Gavin's first answer is "only white people can be racist?" The fire crew then launch into a mockery of the entire sensitivity program.
  • From Doctor Who:

 Shakespeare: "Who are you, exactly, and, more to the point, who is this gorgeous blackamoor lady?"

Martha (British, of Ghanaian and Iranian descent): "What did you say?"

Shakespeare (apologizing): "Oops. Isn't that a word we use nowadays? An Ethiop girl, a swarth, a Queen of Afric?"

Martha (angry): I can't believe I'm hearing this.

The Doctor: "It's political correctness gone mad."

  • An entire episode of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle is an extensive deconstruction of this phrase, defending political correctness.
  • The entire series of Love Thy Neighbour. Interestingly, it was made during a time when political correctness extended as far as not using the "N" word (at least not in public), but it seems to make a mockery of racism and intolerance as a whole despite the liberal use of derogatives.
  • Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special lampshades this trope at least twice:

 Jeff: Well, Walter, you look very festive. Happy Holidays!

Walter: You know, there's something I've been wanting to say for a while: Screw you, it's Merry Christmas!

    • And later, with Achmed the Dead Terrorist, who has donned a Santa Claus hat for the occasion:

 Jeff: I like your Christmas hat.

Achmed: Oh, don't say "Christmas"; it's a Holiday Hat.

Jeff: Why can't I say Christmas?

Achmed: It offends the other infidels.

Jeff: You're afraid of offending people? But you're a terrorist; you kill people.


Achmed: That's different. Killing folk is easy; being Politically Correct is a pain in the ass!

  • In the '60s Red Skelton gave a monologue on his television show in which he went over the Pledge of Allegiance, explaining the meaning of each line, and expressing his concern that the inclusion of the phrase "under God" would cause the Pledge to be labeled as a prayer and banned from public schools. This controversy continues to the present day, since while The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by American socialist Francis Bellamy, who (though himself a professed Christian and Baptist minister) did not think it proper that Americans who actually did not believe in God should be forced to invoke His name. The "under God" clause was slipped in later, in 1954, as a deliberate thumb in the eye to those Dirty Commies, and has stayed that way since. Some secularist school boards have taken steps to get that part stricken from the Pledge, and have enjoyed a measure of success - at least in their own communities. Most Americans now acknowledge that the phrase subtly excludes polytheists, agnostics, and atheists and agree that it shouldn't have been added, but insist on keeping it due to the Grandfather Clause.
    • YMMV on whether people actually think "Under God" shouldn't have been added in the first place.
  • In the TV version of Pretty Little Liars, Emily's swim teammate's father accuses the team of giving Emily the spot over Paige because she's a know.
    • The irony is that Paige ia a lesbian, although one that is not out of the closet yet.
  • In The George Lopez Show, George mentions Max's school's multi-faith holiday play that had Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha all celebrating Kwanzaa.
  • In Peep Show, Mark hates 'Political Correctness Gone Mad'. However this attitude is then parodied when Mark has an uncomfortable experience when he makes friends with Darryl, who also hates Political Correctness but turns out to be a racist.

Web Originals

  • In an episode of You Know What's Bullshit, James Rolfe explains how people used to say "Merry Christmas", then someone decided the phrase was offensive to people who did not celebrate Christmas and pushed to replace it with "Happy Holidays", then people complained that not being able to say "Merry Christmas" was offensive to them... in conclusion, James suggested to replace all those phrases with "Happy Shut The Fuck Up"
  • Seanbaby enlisted Frosty the Snowman to combat the War on Christmas in this comic from Cracked. What Frosty learns in his quest is A: the people whining about how offensive and exclusionary the word "Christmas" is are doing so on behalf of people who don't exist, and B: just let them whine, because Christmas is the most unkillable cultural achievement since pornography and it's not going anywhere.
  • This is inverted by Moviebob in his Big Picture video "Correctitude", where he claims that it's political incorrectness that's gone mad. More specifically, he feels that "PC" has been turned into a strawman by people trying to defend their sexism and bigotry.

Western Animation

  • The actual phrase is used on two separate occasions in the animated show Bromwell High.
    • On one occasion, one of the teachers suggests kidnapping someone and when told that's illegal he utters the phrase.
  • In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzalez complain about not getting much work because of this (first they're told to drop their offensive accents/speech patterns by Moral Guardians, then being told by the audience that they're not funny anymore) .

  1. This is perpetuated by Daily Mail and The Sun newspapers but has, in fact, never happened.
  2. It predates the use of "Jim Crow" as a slur by centuries and comes from the phrase "crow's foot bar" which itself came from its shape.
  3. What about him? We may never know.
  4. something similar to the Der Fuhrer's Face fiasco, seeing as you have to show something if you want to say it's wrong.
  5. The censor had previously objected to him leaving the 'g' off the end of "nothin'" but doesn't object to correcting these into incorrect words, ironically.
  6. Such a claim once inhabited this very line, in fact.