I worry that our society has gotten to the point of insanity because we take offense to things way too easily. We are so focused on what other people think that we guard our speech to a point that our speech becomes meaningless.
If I told you the real reason I am writing this post I’m sure that I’d have plenty of people think that I am racist because the reason I am writing this post is not politically correct.
I’ve gotten to the point that I just want to be who I am and if others take offense at what I say then it has to be on them. I can’t make everyone happy.
Words Change Meaning
The term retard comes from latin and means, as a verb, to make slow or to delay the development or progress of something. As a noun, it means a slowing down or hindrance.
The slang form means someone who is stupid, obtuse or ineffective. We’ve allowed the derogatory connotation of a word allow us to fear using it.
In 1953 the NARC or National Association for Retarded Children was founded and later changed to National Association for Retarded Citizens then the Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States. In 1992, the name changed to simply The Arc of the United States. Their website now suggests that the “r-word” shouldn’t be used… even in the medical community.
I recognize that when times change, we have to change with them but I believe that we’ve allowed idiots to hijack our language and, as a result, we guard our tongue but often don’t know what we are supposed to say.
What’s next? Are we going to have to change the way music is played because we can no longer retard the tempo?
The other issue with political correctness is that we find there is inconsistency in the expectations. We are often told that individuals of African decent and darker skin (like that PC description?) should be called African-American yet, we’ve just concluded Black History Month. Moreover, the NAACP is still called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
There are a significant number of even greater inconsistencies here that I won’t go into for fear of being called a bigot. See, even in this post, I have to be careful because I don’t know who I will offend.
As a result of this inconsistency, people don’t know what to say. We end up sounding racist because we don’t know how to respond. We simply don’t know what to say.
My brother-in-law is a very dark skinned fellow (like that PC term?). I found myself after a few years of knowing him saying an odd phrase when talking about him. I would say something like, “André is an African-American, but he’s a great guy.”
Really, that’s what I said? As if I didn’t include that ‘he’s a great guy’ everyone would have assumed otherwise. I realized what I was doing and, more importantly, I realized that I was doing it because I felt uncomfortable talking since I knew I had to guard my language. Now, he’s just André. He’s my brother-in-law and a friend.
The real result
When we worry about being politically correct, we find that we are always trying to figure out who we are going to offend next. We worry that if we say something that the ignorant (another term people don’t get) will get offended because they think we intended to hurt someone else.
One example: If I use the phase, “That person is such a niggard!” The immediate assumption is that I am using a term regarding race. However, a niggard is someone who is a stingy or ungenerous.
We lose richness in our language because people become offended when a word sounds like it might be derogatory even when the two meanings couldn’t be more divergent.
If this offends you then get over it.