Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thoughts on the vertically challenged being offended by Bob Corker's use of a banned word.

In case you missed it, Bob Corker used "the m word." That is not a typo. I did not mean "the n word"; but "the m word": "midget."  He used the word to criticize his colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee for their over reliance on the Congressional Budget Office.

I do not know when the word "midget" became an offensive word. I have used it saying someone was "the tallest midget in the room," meaning the person may have been the most qualified of a group of unqualified people and only looked good by comparison. Well, one is not supposed to use the word "midget," under any circumstances, in any context.

"Today, no matter in what context it is used, the word dehumanizes and objectifies people of short stature," Little People of America President Gary Arnold said in objecting to Corkers use of the word "midget." The group also said the term was embarrassing and insulting and a slur.

Give me a break. We have become so overly sensitive that it is ridiculous. "Person of short stature" does not convey the same concept as "midget."  Once we have become sensitized to not use the term "midget," then the term "short person" or even "little people" may be the next banned term.

Look at how the term for a retarded person has changed. Did you cringe at the use of "retarded person" just then? Why? It is a perfectly good word but it is out of fashion. It is considered a pejorative term, or a slur or insensitive. "Retarded" was widely used and was a respectable word for a long time. It replaced words that became offensive such as "idiot," "imbecile," or "moron." Then, for some reason it was no longer an acceptable term. Other terms started being used to describe retarded people such as "slow," "mentally challenged," "special needs," "special," "person with an intellectual disability," and "learning difficulties." Now, I think the acceptable term, assuming it has not changed in the last few days,  is "intellectually challenged." It seems that as soon as people learn to use the right term, that it is changed. I guess if we run out of new words to call the same old thing, we can just start over.

The term "homosexual" is almost forbidden and now almost everyone uses the term "gay." "Queer" is obviously pejorative, but "homosexual?" What is wrong with the word "homosexual?" How did "gay" come to mean homosexual? When you sing the Christmas song about "don we now our gay apparel," or you talking about someone dressing in drag? Gay had a meaning long before it meant homosexual, but now that good word can no longer be used in any other context. The word was hijacked.

"Nigger" is certainly offensive and should never be used, that is, unless used by a Black person in a rap song or in a comedy routine or when used in a friendly fashion, one Black person speaking to another Black person.  I just don't understand that. Why is it not offensive when used in a rap song but is offensive when used by a white person? What happens when a white person sings the rap song? I guess white people better not sing rap songs.

I also find it ridiculous that we can not even say the word "nigger" when factually quoting what some white bigot may have called a Black person. We say he called him the "n word." We must say, "The rap song contains '"the n word.'" We cannot say, "The rap song contains the word '"nigger.'" We are so sensitive that we can not even use the word in quotations when quoting another? That is just ridiculous. 

Why did the term "Negro" become forbidden? There is still the Negro College Fund, but "Negro" is a word that is hardly ever used anymore. That is a shame. It is a perfectly good word.  "Negro" seems a more accurate description of Negros than African-American. Not all Negroes are American and not all Africans are Negro.  Northern Africa is populated by Arabic people. The word "Negro" refers to the race of people and can include African-Americans as well as the Negro indigenous people of Africa or European Negros or Caribbean Negros. "Black" I guess is inclusive of all people of African Negro descent, but what was wrong with "Negro?"

And, what about "colored people?" The NAACP is still the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, but other than that I can't think of any time the word "colored" is used anymore. It used to be a polite term and regularly in use. The use of the term "Person of Color," I think, takes the cake for ridiculousness. "Colored people" is a bad term but "people of color" is a good term? Please explain that logic.

Even some very descriptive good words become politically incorrect. The word "poor" is hardly ever used. We hear the term "economically disadvantaged," "the disadvantaged," "low income." There is nothing wrong with the word "poor." I was once "poor." I was not "financially embarrassed" or "short of funds" of "low income" or "disadvantaged." For several years I was poor.

A few years ago, I was attending a housing conference at Fall Creek Falls State Park called "Housing for All," the focus of which was on how to provide a variety of housing types for people who are mentally disabled. ("Mentally challenged?") We were staying in the lodge and eating in the lodge restaurant. One night the menu featured "crazy chicken" night. The restaurant was serving chicken cooked a variety of ways, such as fried chicken, broiled chicken, baked chicken, chicken with rice, and maybe more. The group I was with complained. They found the term "crazy chicken" offensive. They made a big deal out of it and complained to the Tennessee Parks department. I don't know if "crazy chicken night" was discontinued or not. Now, that is just way too sensitive.

I do not use racial slurs and I don't want to be offensive. I conform and use the word "Black" or "African-American" when referring to a person of the Negro race. I try to use the most recent term when referring to people with limited mental capacity.  I am not ready to stop using the term "homosexual" or "poor" however, and I am not going to refer to illegal aliens as "undocumented workers" and I still think Patsy Cline's version of Willie Nelson's "Crazy" is one of the best songs ever recorded.  I will still use the term "midget" when it best says what I am trying to say. I am not gong to stubbornly hold on to the old term when a new term becomes the norm, but I may be one of the last to change.

Bob Corker apologized for using the word "midget" saying, "I sincerely apologize for what was a poor word choice and in no way meant to offend anyone." That is about what I would have said in his shoes, but what I would have liked to have said is, "You people are too damn sensitive! Grow a thicker skin. Get over it."

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1 comment:

  1. I have NO problem with the words , Idiot , imbecile or moron .....Which of course is what YOU are .....Silly , Silly Man ....