If you’d like a preface, check out “Soft Language for Soft People” before reading this. This is somewhat of a ‘pt. 2.’
I am a millennial. Most of my readers are also millennials. And plenty of people have their own problems with us. But the problem that seems to really persist is the “political correctness” of us millennials.
We discussed in “Soft Language for Soft People” the terms we use in today’s society to sort of mask reality in ways that minimize offensiveness.
Has all of that gone too far?
I had to take a step back from my Tumblr scrolling sessions, because three years ago the users would be like,
“We shouldn’t be calling gay people faggots.”
And I was like, “You know what? That seems fair.”
But now, what used to be “Don’t call gay people faggots” is now
“Don’t call him gay. He’s genderqueer.”
Now, I do not believe that we should be able to say whatever offensive, exclusive, bigoted, ignorant or flat-out ridiculous things we want to say. If I describe someone as something with which they do not identify, I want them to correct me.
Political correctness is tricky, though. In some respects, it is a form of intolerance that disguises itself as tolerance.
We millennials wish for a less discriminatory world. Have we gone over the top about creating said world due to our restrictions on how people talk?
More times than I can count, I have referred to myself as black, and a white person told me to instead say “African American.”
I am so sorry to offend you, a white person, by referring to myself, black person, as a black person.
Back in Part One, I jokingly mentioned the fact that the crippled are now called “handicapable.” Comedian George Carlin, years ago, made the point that the handicapped are also called “differently abled.”
Where does that come from? Aren’t we all differently abled? Do we not all have different abilities from one another? Maybe that’s the point–to make the handicapped feel like everyone else?
(sidenote: being a comedian today must be horrible considering that most funny things are somehow offensive.)
I’ve said it before: changing the name of the situation will not change the situation.
Check this out:
I can see it now. Some privileged white liberal overhears some guy roasting one of his friends, pointing out physical appearances, and they go right up to him and say,
“Hey! Don’t talk to him like that! That is so lookist!”
You can’t see it, but there is totally a red dotted line under that word.
That’s the intolerance I’m talking about. Almost more so than defending the rights of the marginalized, we’re unnecessarily shaming everyone at every opportunity.
None of this serves to take away from my pride in my own generation. I am immensely proud of millennials for our desire to live in an accepting society. But I would like to see more of us pushing for more handicapped-accessible restrooms, and less of us just shouting at people and calling them “ableists.”
While I appreciate decoration and creativity in language, I don’t think there’s any harm in plain description.
If my kid’s teacher tells me that he is “minimally exceptional,” I know she means “stupid.”
I now have to ask people what their pronouns are before I speak in reference to them. Should I have to do that? Perhaps I should. I want people to say “he” and him” when talking about me, and fair is fair, right? But it pains me as a writer to have to say “they,” “them,” or “their” when I am talking about one person.
^ click for South Park.
So many media networks have had to put out public apologies for things we do all the time.
“You say something off-color, you tweet something off-color, all of a sudden you’ve got fifteen people criticizing you over whatever as an attempt to take you down a notch.” – Meghan Carpernter, Raw Story Exec. Editor
A woman in New York tried to sue all the bars that held “Ladies’ Nights” because that was gender discrimination.
Anderson Cooper had to apologize for giggling at the word “pussywillow.”
I want to live in a world where we are not calling each other faggots. I want to live in a world where we are not continuously marginalizing women and minorities. I want to live in a world where the disabled are included in any activities they feel comfortable with.
But do I want to live in a world where I can’t say “dinosaur” because it offends creationists? Or I can’t say “divorce” because it hurts the feelings of children whose parents are no longer together?
I will probably try to shut you up if you’re being an asshole (sorry if that offends any rectums reading this), but I cannot shut you up for disagreeing with me.
We get enough censorship coming from the right wing. You say something that does not comply with their ideology, they’ll crack down on you for it because it goes against family values or Jesus.
But now there’s censorship hitting us in the face from the left wing, with people shouting “That’s hate speech!” when you don’t comply. I am equally worried about both sides.
Where should I, a millennial, stand on this issue? I’m afraid that if I take the anti-PC side, society will not progress. I’m afraid if I take the PC side, society will not be free.
(Then again, I’m just one person, so I probably wouldn’t put much of a dent with either impact. After all, it’s just words, right?)
Sorry, I mean “person.”
In Soft Language I was mostly letting off steam about the people who say “passed away” instead of “died,” or “medical transportation” instead of “ambulance.”
Honestly, we may not be too far away from getting aggressively shamed on social media for saying “murder victim” instead of “unexpected bullet recipient.”
I’m not so careless that I will say whatever I want without ever being sensitive to other people or groups of people.
And I think a progressive and accepting society is ideal.
But to police every little thing everyone says is not only exhausting, but it solves virtually nothing.
Has PC gone too far? Or are we just a collectively insensitive bunch?
we’re all human.
“When you say ‘the n-word,’ you’re putting the word ‘nigger’ in the listener’s head. That’s what saying a word is. You say ‘the n-word’ and I go ‘Oh, she means nigger.’ You’re making me say it in my head. Why don’t you fucking say it and take responsibility for the shitty words you want to say? Just say it; don’t hide behind the first letter like a faggot. Just say ‘nigger,’ you stupid cunt.” – Louis C.K.