right-on people

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
In this country (UK), there are so many right-on people who are terrified of offending any minority, they have started to infect twats like the judge in this case.

Background: The thread is about a student being jailed for 56 days for posting racist abuse on Twitter directed at a black soccer/football player who suffered a heart attack on field. Some posters think the student is a jerk of the highest degree, but the sentence is exceptionally harsh for this sort of offense.

I tried to look it up in WR dictionary without any luck, but according to Cambridge Dictionary, it means "having beliefs that are characteristic of someone who supports the political left". What I want to do is, do "right on people" and "left wing people" share the same meaning? Is "right-on people" a more derogatory term for leftists?

  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The phrase "right on" (here used as an adjective) originated (I think) in the 1960s amongst militant left-wingers; someone in the group would say e.g.

    A:"And we will man the barriacades and defeat the captialists!"

    to which the stereotypical reply from the audience would be:

    B, C, D, E, F: "Right-on, brother!" where "right-on" = Exactly! This is in line with our militant ideals and we agree wholeheartedly and support you.

    Right-on later came to be seen as a phrase embodying mindless adherence to the ideals of the extreme left.

    In a search of evermore causes about which to be outraged, the right-on people now sought out political correctness, no matter how impractical or contrary to common sense. (You could well imagine a "right-on person" advocating that blind people should be bus drivers - because otherwise blind people would suffer discrimination. :D)

    Right-on people are a depicted as an extremist, unthinking, subset of left-wing people, always willing to give a comment on any topic in their usual indoctrinated way. The term is derisory and humorous and most often used by the right wingers.
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    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thanks PaulQ.
    This term will come in handy in this growing trend of political correctness. I'll add it to my passive vocabulary and avoid using it in the presence of people who show signs of extreme left-wing ideology


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I don't want to detract from PaulQ's fuller explanation, but I'd like to point out that our dictionary also has a definition of right-on:
    adjective informal, often derogatory in keeping with fashionable liberal or left-wing opinions and values.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It's not much used anymore, except in a derogatory way, alluding to some of the more extreme behavior of those who used the phrase as a slogan nearly 50 years ago.
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