Last Update: 24 Apr 00
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If there's one concept that has come to burn my butt over the past decade, it is "political correctness" or "PC". Those who support it claim that it promotes sensitivity for whatever issue they are pushing. Those of us with functioning minds understand that PC is nothing more than altering, manipulating, and mangling language to avoid simple and truthful descriptions of those same issues.
The silliness of PC comes from the fact that the issue itself doesn't change no matter what sort of language you use to describe it. For example, a person still can't see whether one calls him "blind" or "visually challenged". He can't hear any better if he is sensitively referred to as "hearing impaired" than he can if he is simply "deaf". And, "little people" are no taller than "dwarfs" or "midgets".
The nonsense continues with the terminology used to describe the racial and/or ethnic classifications of people. Now, we must call one group "Native Americans" instead of "Indians" (actually, we really should refer to them by their proper tribal ancestries). PC declares that we lump all non-White Americans into the abomination "People of Color" (as if "white" is not a color). Then, of course, there's the continually changing way that Black Americans are supposed to be collectively referred to. This has culminated in the logically (and, perhaps, linguistically) ridiculous "African-Americans". Consider, my ancestry in Norwegian and I am the third generation of my family to have been in the United States. I am not referred to as a "Norwegian-American". Most American Blacks are five or more generations removed from their African ancestries, yet PC requires us to call them "African-Americans". Also, this doesn't refer to the whole of Africa. After all, Americans who descend from white or Arab ancestors in South Africa or Egypt are not "African-Americans".
One terrific example of what PC can do to language was presented by George Carlin in his hilarious book, "Brain Droppings". He says,
"Seems to me it wasn't long ago that when an OLD PERSON DIED the UNDERTAKER put him in a COFFIN, and you sent FLOWERS to the FUNERAL HOME where the MORTICIAN held the WAKE. Then, after the FUNERAL, the put him in a HEARSE and DROVE him to the CEMETERY, where the BURIED his BODY in a GRAVE.
"Now when a SENIOR CITIZEN PASSES AWAY, he is placed in a BURIAL CONTAINER, and you send FLORAL TRIBUTES to the SLUMBER ROOM where the GRIEF THERAPIST supervises the VIEWING. After the MEMORIAL SERVICE, the FUNERAL COACH TRANSPORTS THE DEPARTED to the GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE, where his EARTHLY REMAINS are INTERRED in the FINAL RESTING PLACE."
Now, are the two situations any different in reality? The guy is just as dead. The survivors are just as sad. The only difference is that the process costs a whole lot more now.
We've gone from "shell shock" to "battle fatigue" to "post-traumatic stress disorder". Instead of "toilet paper", we now use "bathroom tissue". People no longer have "mental problems", they have "psychological disorders". Today's workers don't get "fired", they get "laid off" or "downsized". Kids aren't "stupid" or "dull" or lazy" these days, they now have "learning disabilities" or "Attention Deficit Disorder". The "garbage man" is now a "Sanitation Engineer". People are no longer incapable of "taking it", they suffer from "stress-induced emotional trauma". You used to work out at the gym with a coach. No more! Now, you "train at the health and fitness center under the supervision of a personal trainer". And on and on and on...it's almost enough to make you puke. Or, would that be "to engage in an involuntary oral ejection of stomach contents"?
But, this isn't the end of it. In addition to the bastardization of our perfectly serviceable language, the PC Police have introduced a new concept -- "being offended". How many times have you heard some mental midget (excuse me, some intellectually-challenged individual) claim to be "offended" simply because somebody didn't use PC language to refer to something? It seems as though you can barely open your mouth these days without "offending" somebody for some reason. I look at it this way -- if I'm going to be offending somebody anyway, I might just as well speak precisely. At least there won't be any question about what is making that person mad. Some people spend so much time and energy complaining about being offended that they never get around to solving whatever the original problem might have been. As far as I'm concerned, if they're not a part of the solution, they're a part of the problem -- and Political Correctness is definitely no solution.
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