Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stumbling Over Political Correctness

One can but wonder where it all comes from, this politically correct language that has so handcuffed our native language. Who was it, first defining blacks and various other non-white minorities as ‘people of color?’'

Politicallycorrect One can but wonder where it all comes from, this politically correct language that has so handcuffed our native language. Who was it, first defining blacks and various other non-white minorities as ‘people of color?’
I studied my own color in the shaving mirror this morning and was displeased at my winter shade of gray over a kind of pinkish undertone. Summertime, or returning from my less and less frequent winter vacations, I am a kind of boiled-pink, tannish in spots and given to variations of grim splotchiness. I wish I was more even and healthy looking. Really makes me wonder what the hell people of color is meant to mean, excluding me as it does and relegating me to the category of ‘people without color.’
Languagepolice Blind persons are now deemed to be visually challenged, which seems absurd and a put-down as well. In the furious rush to be non-confrontational, we have become ludicrous instead.
I wrote a piece not long ago about a guy by the name of Mark Nord over at the USDA, who insisted upon a new definition of ‘hungry.’ His preferred term was that the people in question suffered from ‘very low food security.’
In my mind that was ridiculous and I wrote that it was ridiculous and caught hell for it. Guess I should have called Mark’s particular wording ‘sensibly impaired’ and covered my ass.
Political correctness presumptively refers to the ‘implied or perceived expectation that it is improper to offend a minority or special interest group.’ Whose expectation that might be is left unasked. The correctors among us are busy as bees, marginalizing certain words, phrases, actions and attitudes by the self-applied, self-regulated and self-centered application of disesteem.
Disesteem throw you for a loop? It’s the PC term for ‘little or no respect for; to hold in contempt.’ I disesteem the disesteemers.
I don’t know whose business it is to appoint themselves as ministers protecting our well-used and frequently abused American English, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that the perpetrators are the product, themselves, of liberal education. Nary a resident of the ghetto among them, I would suspect.
Raised like mushrooms from Montessori to a university system that cocooned their little esteem engines and kept them chugging. The sole contribution of such self-absorption has been to denigrate a great language.
Koreanamerican It strikes me that we do a Korean no favor when we call him (or her) an Asian-American, much less singling them out as a person of color. Korean is good enough. It allows no confusion with Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese or Senegalese—it’s the real goods. Korean and proud of it.
Hispanic? The term Hispanic tramples a long and gallant heritage of those whose root language may or may not have been Spanish. Included in that (perhaps) well-meaning but mis-directed stew are indigenous tribal populations that underpin populations that fell to colonialism. Are descendents of Mayan Indians Hispanic?
No? Yes? Maybe?
Does political correctness imply that Ted Kennedy ought to be described European rather than Irish? Is it less offensive to declare my child an ‘exceptional learner’ rather than doing remedial classwork? Is it even accurate? The Council for Exceptional Children offers a virtual cornucopia of defined exceptio, from Autistic to traumatic brain injury.
Exceptional, visually challenged and the plethora of hyphenated kindnesses with which our language is degraded, stand in shocking comparison to what is accepted and celebrated in American entertainment.
Americanidol Am I the sole surviving American who finds it unacceptable that we euphemize the language with which we describe, at the same time that we ruthlessly attack the helpless—for the sheer pleasure (and profit) that feeding-frenzy provides? How is it possible that the identical society that hesitates to call a black man black or an Irishman Irish, is more than comfortable watching American Idol?
Or are the language police not watching American Idol? Are they grazing elsewhere, chewing quietly and efficiently in the monastic comfort of the fields of public policy?
Martin Luther King, Jr. claimed we were becoming a ‘nation of guided missiles and misguided men.’ Powerful language. He didn't say those men were guidance deprived. He would no doubt be further amazed, these several decades later, to find our nation teaching immigrants in their native language, ostensibly to enhance their self-esteem, at the same time we eviscerate teenage singers on national TV.
Before a leering, jeering audience of 40 million, three ostensible ‘judges’ dissect a bunch of kids like lab-frogs. Kids who have been chosen for their mockery value above all else. Thus Idol's bullies of the playground are agreeably elevated by their audience to bullies within the entertainment industry.
Donaldtrump How do we square our disinclination to call the crippled crippled, with our lust for watching Donald Trump tear at the televised puppies seeking to become his assistant? Does it say anything surprising about our society that old people are termed age disadvantaged and our mass television media is one reality show after another, showcasing human cruelty?
Closing down the language, giving it over to the political correctors, is a step toward closing down the culture.
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