So...perhaps it is a bad idea to start my post today begging you to not take offense. Let me explain myself before you start getting yourself all worked up. I happened to hear the on-air program of Rush Limbaugh, as he was trying to explain (in his pompous, egotistical way) that he didn't REALLY call Oprah fat ...but even if he did he would be justified because HE, himself is fat. His theory being that if you are part of a group you can use the words that you find comfortable to describe that group.
(DISCLAIMER: Not huge fan on Mr. Limbaugh, but he occasionally he surprises me with moments of keen observation only to lose me in his absurd ego-driven rants. )
Anyway, as I was saying....This brouhaha started after Oprah said a Swiss salesperson made a comment to her implying she couldn't afford a $38,000 dollar handbag. Oprah was quite vocal that she perceived the comment to be racially motivated. Rush, supposedly, made a comment that perhaps, the comment wasn't made because of ethnicity but because of negative stereotypes related to her weight. Well...as one might expect this started a sh** storm of people being offended.
Thought Number One: When Stating Your Opinion Becomes Politically Incorrect
There is hardly a day that goes by without someone accusing someone else of being non-PC, biased, racist, insensitive or a combination of all of those things. Yikes, it's a verbal mine-field out there.
It's not only that many of the words that are not offensive to some may, indeed, be offensive to others.... but it's also, how does one know which words are now taboo. (sorry if anyone out there finds the word taboo objectionable because of it's religious roots.) See!!!! Even there, I am probably trashing someone's religious beliefs.
Take for example: This year I have noticed a lot of marketing about sales revolving around the Dog Days of Summer. There is an absence of the term " Indian Summer". Actually, as of late, nearly anyone that is consciously trying to avoid being labeled "insensitive" wouldn't use the word 'Indian' at all. To be politically correct, you really should use the term 'Native American'.
|Cheryl P. family tree|
But am I allowed to use the word Indian? My mother's grandfather was Cherokee. He is the one and only non-Irish or non-Scot that worked his way into our family but still...doesn't that allow me to use the word Indian as I am part Indian. Let's not over-think the minimal amount of Indian I am. I am not trying to get into a tribe. I am just looking for the right to sing "one little, two little, three little Indians without being labeled as a bigot.
Thought Number Two: No Wonder We Are Confused
It seems that there are so many contradictions out there. I would suggest that we are all being challenged as to what exactly is politically correct.
- Saying someone is fat is considered offensive and, most cases rude. However, there are new rules classifying obesity as a disability. So we can recognize that people can be disabled by fat but not say the word in relationship to an individual person...well unless you are talking about celebrities and politicians being fat, then you can have them on talk shows to discuss it. The whole country seems to be comfortable with calling a certain politician fat to the point they would be labled bullies if they were still in grade school and no one seems to be having a problem with that.
- We can't pray in school or put religious symbols in our government office buildings but we put "In God We Trust" on our money or have witnesses swear on a Bible in a courtroom to assure everyone of their honesty.
- We can hear and say offensive racial slurs in song lyrics and in movie dialogue but not say those same slurs in public without consequences in both your reputation and your pocketbook.
- There are laws that make it illegal to yell "FIRE" in a public place (if, in fact, there is no fire) but it's within the rights of abhorrent people to yell hateful slurs at a soldier's funeral.
|A Pastafarian won the right to wear his|
colander for his state ID
So for my part., I am avoiding all words that hint of any kind of bias. No longer will I say the word Indian, even though I have half of a drop of Indian blood. I won't use the term Indian Summer. Instead I will use the the term "Dog Days of Summer."
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