Update on what they allow you to say: ‘Picnic’, ‘women’ now deemed too offensive

Update on what they allow you to say: ‘Picnic’, ‘women’ now deemed too offensive. By Rosemary Neill. Banned words in bold.

Picnic. Women. Young. Old. Smartphone. Addict. All these words have something in common: they belong to a growing list of seemingly innocuous terms that have been deemed by universities, government departments and professional associations to be offensive or problematic. …

In June 2021, the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC) at America’s Brandeis University released an “Oppressive Language List” which included the words and expressions “killing it” and “trigger warning” — because of their purported “connections to guns” — as well as “picnic”, “people of color”, “crazy”, “addict” and “homeless person”.

PARC raised claims — which have been disputed — that “picnic” has historical associations with lynchings, and suggested replacing it with “outdoor eating’’. …

Among the new additions was the expression “whipped into shape” which, according to PARC, could evoke “imagery of enslavement and torture’’. PARC also urged students to replace “addict” with “person with a substance abuse disorder” — such terminology is being increasingly used in the health field — and recommended that “homeless person’’ be abandoned in favor of “person who is experiencing housing insecurity’’. …

If you think such language policing is largely practiced by American arts students with too much time on their hands, think again. It’s happening in Australia too, in bureaucracies, universities, schools, the health sector and corporate human resources departments, and it extends to everyday words and phrases including “women”, “he”, “she”, “old”, “young”, “disabled parking”, “ethnic group” and “special education”. …

The euphemism treadmill is what passes for the high technology developed by our increasingly-dumbed-down ruling class:

One example that comes to mind is how the word “handicapped” was replaced by “the disabled”, then “differently abled”. This term was (thankfully) ditched in the shift towards people-first language such as “person with a disability”. But recently, some disabled people have said they prefer the more succinct “disabled person”. …

In the 1990s, [Harvard University Psychology professor Steven Pinker] noted that the treadmill had an unfortunate side effect: People without a “drop of malice or prejudice” were being condemned as bigots for using a word newly ordained as offensive. It was a prescient remark: In 2020, Pinker found himself under attack when hundreds of linguistics researchers signed an open letter urging the Linguistic Society of America to revoke his distinguished fellow status. They had dug up old tweets by the writer and academic which, they claimed, revealed racial and sexist biases. …

Words are now political weapons used to stamp out bad-thought:

At the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Pinker will ask whether we are entering a new dark age and whether Enlightenment tenets — reason, science and humanism — are being eroded “by a desire to burn it all down’’. …

FODI co-curator Simon Longstaff told Review it has become “increasingly difficult”, given “the general sense that words are being weaponised and that people who misspeak are not just making some kind of an error, but this is somehow revealing a moral fault. That is new, and I think accelerating.’’ …

A leading cancer charity, the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, and government-linked websites are using gender-neutral terms such as “every body with a cervix” and “people who have symptoms of cervical cancer” — often omitting the word “women” from vital health information that overwhelmingly relates to them.

Self-described “radical feminist”, academic and author Holly Lawford-Smith condemns this phenomenon as “careless”, “ignorant” and a new sexual double standard, given that the word “man” is still “the default” in health and other fields. … She said “a lot of women” were “gleefully handing away their rights in their language” because they have so much “empathy” for trans men and women. “It’s like feminism itself has gotten into this incredibly stupid position, acting out these feminine stereotypes of … being really kind,’’ she said. …

Dr Lawford-Smith said inclusive language should prioritise women’s as well as trans peoples’ interests. [isn’t that anti-male, or is that ok?]

The Enlightenment is so yesterday — now we are explicitly reverting to putting politics before truth:

In a recent editorial, “science” journal Nature Human Behaviour warned it may reject research articles that could potentially stigmatize women, the gay community, the disabled or racial groups. While claiming that race and ethnicity are “sociopolitical constructs” and that genetic ancestry is a “biological construct”, the editorial made clear that scientific research papers would no longer be judged on merit alone. Pinker protested on Twitter: “Nature Human Behavior [sic] is no longer a peer-reviewed scientific journal but an enforcer of a political creed.’’ …

Pronouns:

According to Australian Press Council and Victorian government guides, asking a transgender person “What is your preferred pronoun?’’ is not OK, as it implies that gender identity is a choice. You should instead ask, “What pronoun do you use?’’

Victorian public servants are warned that when writing formal letters, “gender neutral titles like Dr can always be used, but gendered titles such as Ms, Miss, Mrs or Mr may not apply to and may offend some people’’. . …

“Avoid the use of the term ‘special’ when referring to people with disability,’’ the [Victorian Department of Education] urges. “They don’t have ‘special needs’ … Segregation of people with disability historically (and sometimes still) occurred under the banner of ‘special’.”

Obey or be fired:

If the euphemism treadmill simply reflected the disconnect between everyday speech and arid academic rhetoric and public servant-speak, it would be no big deal. But as we have seen, under the current linguistic policing regime, resistance to the new orthodoxy can end or stall careers — or even lead to indifference when an author faces death threats.

Throughout the West, a woke curtain has descended across the civilization.

hat-tip Stephen Neil