8/11/15 – Polite Language


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.

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