Truly, political correctness is anathema to me….
As a writer, I understand the power of quotation marks. In fiction writing, it’s when my characters come to life and speak.
In my nonfiction work, this form of punctuation indicates the words contained within are quoted verbatim, exactly as uttered from the mouth of the speaker cited.
Sometimes in my writing, I’ll put quotation marks around a single word to convey what I consider to be questionable usage.
Those applications are the only ones using quotes with which I am comfortable using.
For example, today I’d like to talk about the ongoing effort to stigmatize users of an currently “unpopular” word.
You see, in this instance, “unpopular” suggests that nobody likes the word. But in truth, only a certain set of people dislike use of the word and seek to marginalize its use by the general public.
However, there is yet another convention. In the modern vernacular, quotes placed around only a single letter signify that the word associated in question that comes to mind in the given context is politically incorrect, or verboten.
For example, the “N” word associated with a racial slur is considered one of the most horrible, offensive words in the English language. It is thought to be so bad that a teacher got fired for using the word “niggardly” correctly in a sentence, because it only sounded like the forbidden one.
Before you think it was simply an aberration, the same thing happened to the aide to the mayor of Washington, D.C.
In other words, ignorance and hypersensitivity to political correctness can cost people their jobs. Some sins are simply believed unforgivable — even if the actual sin wasn’t committed, but somebody thought you did and took offense anyway.
My point isn’t to advocate or defend use of the “N” word, because I don’t particularly care for it. But I say, if a word is banned, then it cannot be used by anybody.
What I don’t understand is how white people in the movie Pulp Fiction were allowed to say the word to black people.And black people in the movie said it to each other.
But I better not say it.
For the record, Pulp Fiction was a pretty good movie and I wasn’t so horrified that I walked out, but I admit it made me uncomfortable. I think the movie would have been just as good with a substitute word, but I’m not Quentin Tarantino, so what do I know?
What bothers me so much about the “N” word is the thought that it’s only banned for certain people, and I’m not sure who’s on the “permitted” list.
If the word is really and truly that horribly offensive that people who use words that sound similar should lose their livelihood, then please remain offended when it is every other word from the mouth of a black comedian, or the only rhyming word in a rap song.
Sorry, but exchanging “a” for “er” at the end of the word doesn’t appreciably soften the blow or make it more friendly for me.
And it makes zero sense to ban or rewrite Huckleberry Finn under the excuse of protecting impressionable young minds from this horrible racial slur, for them only to listen to NAS’s Live Nigga Rap on the way home from school.
But, it seems, this time I digressed before I ever really got started.
Today’s topic of discussion is the latest organized effort to remove a word from normal use now being called the “I” word, described as “dehumanizing”, “hate speech”, “slur”, and “racist”.
There is even something called the “Drop the ‘I’ Word” campaign.
And what, pray tell, is this “I” word in question?
It would be “illegal”, as in “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien.”
In her interview with Bill O’Reilly, when “Drop the ‘I’ Word” campaign coordinator Ms. Novoa described the word as “not accurate”, I found myself asking an “inconceivable” question: does “accurate” mean what I think it means?
My apologies to fans of The Princess Bride.
It is against the law to be in the United States without permission. That means you have a birth certificate that says you were born here, a green card, or an immigration visa. If you don’t have legal permission to visit America, that would make you an “illegal alien.”
Ipso facto, the usage in indeed “accurate” to call people in America without permission illegal aliens.
But instead, I am being told the politically correct word I should be using is “undocumented.”
And I would, if I had the least bit of concern about offending the sensitivities of people breaking the law.
I will concede that it’s also true these people are “undocumented.” That’s precisely why it’s against the law for them to be here. They are indeed breaking the law. That makes their actions illegal. They are not U.S. citizens, which makes them aliens.
I believe that would make them “illegal aliens”, correct?