The attack on what became known as ‘political correctness’ (PC) originated on college campuses in the US in the 1980s. Initially, it stood for an attempt to remove terms from everyday discourse which were considered racially or sexually pejorative and discriminatory. The debate was largely confined to the campuses until the early 1990s when press articles began appearing, including one in January 1991 in New York Magazine entitled, ‘Are You Politically Correct?’. The term quickly became appropriated, inflated and distorted in media reports as part of a wider attack on the principles and policies of multiculturalism, including affirmative action. Press columns were full of scare stories of fascist take-overs, thought police, censorship and white (male) victims (Neilson 1995). The origins of this wider backlash and the ideas which fuelled the attack on political correctness had been sown in the previous decade in a number of publications, one of the best known of which was Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind in 1987.1 As part of this broadside assault on multiculturalism, conservatives defended the maintenance of the white western literary canon and its epistemological assumptions against attempts to promote and reflect cultural diversity. In England the term PC caught on in the early 1990s but prior to this, from the mid 1980s onwards, a backlash of a somewhat different order had been waged, less on college campuses, but more against local authority anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-sexist initiatives.