Sunday, January 24, 2016

reflections on politically correct language

I had a conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago where I was lamenting America's obsession on politically correct language.  I thought this would just be a breezy couple of sentences and then we'd move to another topic.  I was wrong, and my friend was upset.  She explained that using language that doesn't upset or exclude people is just common courtesy.  I countered that I thought it was a waste of time to so carefully weigh every word when I just wanted to convey information.  She told me my attitude was selfish.  It wasn't the light conversation I was going for.

This morning as I was looking through facebook I read a post that was about getting eyelash extensions: 'tranny lashes.'  I though, wow, that is some harsh, tacky language.  I have used that word to describe low brow yet over the top fashion, and then I stopped because I was equating trans people with low brow tacky fashion, and it was really derogatory way.  I didn't want to talk about my fellow humans that way, and so I stopped.  In fact, there are a lot of words I have purged from my vocabulary because I felt that they were tacky and derogatory.  I was misrepresenting myself and who I want to be and I was labeling others.  Not cool.

I brought it up with my friend again today.  I told her that after a bit of self reflection and seeing it in the wild, I was going to be more mindful of using respectful language.

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