Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 02:23:44 -0500
From: SETH SKLAREY crissiet[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IPOF.FLA.NET
Subject: Re: PC Language
WAYNE GLOWKA asked:
After reading two student term papers on politically correct language (one
on parody PC and one on serious PC), I am having a hard time distinguishing
between parody and serious intent.
My question, however, has to do with who makes up the body of PC activists.
College professors? Feminists? Special ed teachers? Minority activists?
Males who want to work at Hooters? The super-ego?
Where does this euphemistic/revisionist energy come from?
My best recollection is that the serious pc stuff started with NOW, the National
Organization for Women in the 1970's. When they started in about
Chairman/chairperson etc. For the hardcores they started calling themselves
Even though the Civil Rights movement pre-dated it when they began to insist on
being called black rather than Negro, and then in the late 1980's Afro-American.
This led to the other end of the spectrum like the Aryan nation and skinheads to
the reference of The Mud people.
Then we had short people (formerly known as midgets & dwarfs) transmogrified
Then the serious parody (how's that for an oxymoron) began with "follically
for those with "receding hairlines."
Retarded people, formerly known as mongoloids now have "Downs syndrome."
Idiots who got dumped into the public school system under the Reagan
are now "special education students." Geniuses are in the "gifted program."
Reform school is now vocational school or alternative school.
Jail is now a detention facility. I don't know what they call after school
detention now. The term death penalty is taboo in some circles. Slave labor
is now called
community service or jury duty or the Army or working in a fast food
In England a few years back if you tied faggots together you could take them
build a fire. Today it would get you convicted of a hate crime (or be caled
The town drunk is now a "substance abuser." A 400 pound woman has a "thyroid
Rape in Florida is now called "involuntary sexual battery."
Nobody is dying of AIDS, they are "living with AIDS."
(Saw a bumper sticker the other day: "Senior citizens are the major carrier
band-aids, hearing aids, hemorrhoid aids, rolaids...")
I never understood why chairman was politically incorrect and chairperson was
ok or that the adamant ones didn't insist on chairperdaughter?
Anyhow, here in Miami the Blacks & Cubans refer to the non-hispanic non
population as "Anglo's (sic)." Needless to say this doesn't sit too well
with Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, Swedes, Palestinians, Italians and especially
the French, all
of whom have some presence here. What formerly were called white people are now
Another item of political incorrectness I have noted over the years is the
deliberate truncating of a name. Senator Bob Dole often does this when
referring to the
Democrat Party. Jewish people are offended when the -ish is dropped and they
the speaker anti-semitic. H. Ross Perot had it handed to him when he referred to
In answer to your question, Wayne, the line is drawn at the point where the
person or group requesting the political correctness doesn't have a sense of
humor. If a group
can ask for a sensitivity, they should also be able to laugh at themselves
become a societal stereotype.
Wittgenstein School of the Unwritten Word
Coconut Grove, FLorida
crissiet[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ipof.fla.net