Last week, a couple of people on my facebook posted a well-intentioned article written as part of a campaign to end the "r-word." (For those of you who do not know what the r-word is, they are referring to the word "retarded" being used to compare someone who has done something stupid with someone who has a disability). I'm in agreement with the concept of the campaign. Although,this word is no longer used for diagnosis as far as I know.
But what I didn't like is that the author has "lost all respect" for actors who use it in lines, directors who allow it, and the people who write it." She goes on to say she doesn't care to hear about how your characters don't reflect you and your freedom of speech. And this is where she lost a reader. Because using the same logic, Gone With the Wind, Tom Sawyer, and To Kill A Mockingbird shouldn't be read. She doesn't want to hear about how your characters don't reflect your views, but she doesn't seem to grasp the concept either. You're not what you write. Your job is to create flawed human characters. (Humans are flawed by virtue of being human). To create a world so believable a reader is lost in it. If you "pick up a dictionary" as she suggests this won't happen. Using another word instead of the right word is never okay. You can create politically correct literature to your heart's content. But if I sense for a second you've made a choice out of an effort to not offend, you'll lose a reader. I don't care about your book being politically correct. I only care about it being real. And you are not your characters. You really aren't.