Friday, September 03, 2021

I'm no longer elderly, I'm an older adult

 English is flexible and has more words than any other European language. Remember, "The sun never sets on the Union Jack," and the Brits borrowed a lot of words from those they conquered. But government and academe make speech and writing very difficult between going woke and demanding political correctness, plus the old words don't really go away. We still have "handicapped parking" instead of "differently abled parking."  In the 1970s when we visited the Ohio Penitentiary (a term invented by Quakers for penance and reflection about crimes) with our church group we were told that "convict" or "ex-con" or "inmate" were not acceptable. And I'm sure no matter what was OK then, it isn't now.

The CDC doesn't just tackle diseases any more, it polices our language. The trend of adding Person with/of, and twisting words and phrases to say something unpopular less directly, is being carried to the extreme. In 21st century English we must be reminded that everyone is a person (except an unborn child) and groups of persons are people or communities. This has the effect of returning English quickly to its Germanic roots--5-10 words to say something that could be accomplished by adding a prefix or suffix or a simple adjective to a noun. So that garbled phrase must then be shortened to an acronym. Like BIPOC--Black, Indigenous and People of Color, a phrase that includes many who aren't any of those.

Today sexually undecided people don't have "reassignment surgery," but instead it's "affirmation surgery" or "confirmation surgery" or "gender congruence surgery." (And if done on children, I call it sexual abuse, but that's another essay.) Just when I was getting used to being elderly or a senior, I'm now just an "older adult," which is what I'd been calling anyone over 50!

You may no longer be a smoker (wasn't that easy?), but a "person who smokes."

CDC's 'woke' new language guide proposes replacing 'dehumanizing' words like ELDERLY  | Daily Mail Online

1 comment:

Matthew said...

The persons with X had a genesis back when I was an RN full time a decade and a half ago. Someone got annoyed at being called diabetic and wanted to be a person with diabetes. At least that is the first I've heard that strained roundabout way of making perfectly fine words into pejoratives.