Saturday, October 11, 2008

Navigating The Linguistic "Mindfield" Of Political Correctness

What can I say? Or more importantly, what can I not say? I fear I have been slowly tippy toeing into the nether world of resorting to euphemisms . There are numerous examples,too many to list. Sometimes we may not know when we have said something offensive until the PC police arrive to take us away.Usually I will try to be somewhat tolerant of other people's step into that mindfeild unless they are repeat offenders. It isn't necessary to lecture either. It is hard to know all the rules.Is their a guide somewhere?
There are some fairly obvious ones that should be avoided. You may mistakenly refer to someone else's race or cultural background in an uncomplimentary way. There are still parts of the country where people still utter the "n word". It can be addressed in a diplomatic comment of "I don't think they like to be called that anymore perhaps referring to them as African American might be more appropriate". Native Americans no longer wish to be called Indians. The word retarded is no longer used and instead you must say developmentally disabled or cognitively limited. Dirty old man are now referred to as pedophiles. Dirty old women are cougars.
We have all encounter our share of jerks or idiots. They now wish to be referred to as people lacking social skills. When it comes to family matters and relationships there is subtlety in the way you must refer to unmarried individuals occupying the same dwelling as significant others and if you have a child born out of wedlock your are a single parent. My mother had her on lingo and it was called shacking up. In the 1960's if you had an illegitimate baby it was called a love child. If you are a stepparent you are the nonbiologocal parent. If you are in a long term same sex relationship you may be living with your life partner.
Now that I've probably offended about 50 percent of the population let's have a go with the rest then shall we. When you encounter an accomplished outspoken women there may be some who mutter unkind words under their breath "b-otch" but perhaps she is just being an assertive women.
Individuals of short stature assert they no longer approve of being called midgets and prefer the term little person or dwarf.Perhaps unattractive people should now be called esthetically challenged. A long time ago people that drank too much were drunks now we call them alcohol abusers as are junkies called chemically dependent self medicators. It was never nice to call emotionally disturbed people raving lunatics or crazy it is much nicer to refer to them as mentally ill.When we encounter an aggressive driver we describe them as suffering from road rage needing anger management training classes. I think I will just stick to calling them anal orifices. So if any of you like to gossip you can now call yourself information disseminaters. And anyone who lacks a sense of humor can sign up as watchdog for the PC Police. When you are writing words rather than speaking your words you are an author. This author may have to go hide out for a few days in case they are looking for me. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the author was definitely under the influence and not in her right mind and will claim insanity.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Oh, so very true. Love it! Made me laugh, and I wasn't offended in the least!