8/11/15 – Polite Language

A
A
A

Terms that were once commonly used such as “handicapped”, “founding fathers”, and “grandfathering” have fallen out of use.

As someone who volunteers with special needs children, I understand why the terms “retard” and “mentally retarded” are considered offensive.

But some people have taken politically correct language to silly extremes.

The University of New Hampshire has a Bias-Free Language Guide that claims to be the final arbiter of what is acceptable language.

According to the guide, the terms ‘normal”, “able-bodied”, “healthy” or “whole” are offensive.  People in that category — according to the university  — should be called “non-disabled.”

“American”, “Caucasian”, “foreigner”, “illegal alien”, “guys”, “manpower”,  and “the average man” are problematic.

Really?  Has common-sense taken a holiday?

Just recently, the Washington Post published about a two-and-a-half thousand word article arguing that the term “Section 8” is a racial slur.  The phrase comes from section 8 of the 1937 Housing Act, which authorized government-subsidized rental housing for low income residents. The term is still used in federal law.

The Washington Post tries to build a case for banning the phrase.

I believe most people would like to engage in polite conversation without offending others.

But some people are wound too tight and look for problems that don’t exist.

You can follow Behind the Headlines on Twitter at @BehindTheHead.
You can follow Mark on Twitter at @MarkHyman.
Join us on our Facebook page.