Back about 8-10 years ago, a bunch of skate-rat punk kids called me "caveman Rich" because of a combination of facial expressions and grunts that I would make when confused or distracted. And now I wonder if to some degree I am a caveman.
I don't 'get' politically correct speech. At least not when it doesn't seem to matter. I totally agree with some things - sexual orientation is a much more logical phrase to use as opposed to sexual preference. That one caught into my head with no problem.
But the rest of it . . .
Am I a product of a forgotten time? Is my inability to recognize the importance of completely altering my vocabulary and way of speaking a sign that I'm some evolutionary branch that should just go away?
I admit to some degree it's a conscious effort on my part. I dislike phrases that, in my opinion, create a tone where good things are bad, and other things are neutral or victimized. (I could never grasp my head around referring to someone who was attractive as being a 'lookism survivor,' for example.)
Plus - well, sometimes the goal of the politically correct struck me as being downright nihilistic. Or even dishonest.
For example -
The first time I was in college, I took a video art class. I loved this class. The professor, I thought, was a brilliant man whose attitude inspired the class to do our best. Then, about four months later, he commented to a local news article that a series of 19th century bronze sculptures should be melted down because they were sexist. (If I remember correctly, one showed a gorilla carrying a woman away.)
Well, yeah. They were. Welcome to the 19th century. I lost a lot of respect for him - and when he ridiculed me for disagreeing with him, I dropped his class. I'm not to blame for the sexism of the 19th Century, and I don't think we should hide it or destroy the evidence of it. I actually think it should be out there - to show people that while we have a far way to go, we've also come a far way.
It's like when people say they want to censor Chaucer because the Canterbury Tales were anti-semitic. Yeah, of course they were. That doesn't make them a good thing. But censoring those works, or banning them out right, strikes me as just sweeping the anti-semitism under the carpet. Denying it happened.
The Canterbury Tales are anti-semitic because (as far as I know) Chaucer was anti-semitic. As was almost every European at that point in time. What good is hiding this? I never understood that.
And what good is changing language?
I've commented before about Kevin W. and Shauna - two of my friends who are black. They despise the term African American. And that's drilled in my head now. I'll never switch away from "Black." Because no matter what word I use - "black," "African-American," "people of color," or what have you, it isn't going to change the fact that a lot of the USA is still run by old racist white men. (Anyone who wants to debate that can look at the Board of Directors of groups like Chevron and such, or even the US Congress, and see that black people are not proportionally represented.)
Forcing someone like me to change our vocabulary doesn't make racism go away.
At least that's how I look at it.
Am I wrong?