Sunday, November 15

language

Just learned a new one today: "Enhanced interrogation".  It was used in a response on NPR  radio by a interviewee during some kind of questioning of  what  Guantanamo peoples will face, in evidence what they said before and after they had been tortured, and how their trial in New York will be affected by these two different kind of "evidence-statements". Needles to say, the morbid part of my mind started laughing  out real loud. Enhanced interrogation procedures are synonymous with torture, no doubt. The guy who did the interview put it that way, the gal who answered questions,  chose a "political correct" answer.
This makes me wonder about "correctness" in general and how we name and label things.
A person with down-syndrome was called Mongoloid in the 70's,  probably not the right labeling. But "they" wouldn't care less. Now, down-syndrome has been disenfranchised in the 90's to: Mentally disabled. In 2000 something, it changed again - to mentally disadvantaged.
That's just one example.
The other day my wife was telling by the dinner table that a friend from New York would come up with her African friend (actually husband) for Thanks Giving, a holiday that is celebrated in the US.  My daughter exploded: You can't say it this way mom, that's putting the guy down!
I  got upset. There is nothing wrong or incorrect to say where a person comes from, may it be Africa, Japan, Europe or from Australia or anywhere else.
I got upset, because it is in our minds where we create separations and borders. And the beautiful language of "political correctness" will never be able to eradicate hindrances,  no matter how soft we phrase our wordings.
The trend to remedy social inadequacies by using smooth terminology in hopes to dilute definitions is a blatant and desperate move of a society who has lost their language to speak.
I have been called a "white nigger" in a "black nigger bar" in Harlem NY, and I am proud of it!
 After dancing around, the checking out of this and that, the diminishing level of testosterone and all the other bullshit gone,  we decided to be regular humans, no color, no label.
I gave his woman a hug and left the club, he smiled.

We all should stick to the truth and say things the way they are, describing them how they really are and not hide behind soft language. That doesn't mean that you can't be polite. But political correctness now has taken over almost any avenue to be direct, to actually voice an issue.

On that note, be courageous! 





 

11 comments:

ANNA-LYS said...

Hello "Norwegian Man" lol

I must put forward some disagreement upon Your shared thoughts here in this post.

I look upon language as tools for thoughts and communication, and using tools change both mind, behaviour and the products (yes, I am an ecosociocultural psycho-anna-lys merry-go-round kind of believer, even when it comes to human development).

They way we use language changes our thoughts, behaviour, and social interplay, and by that our society (ref. Vygotsky et al), that is why it is of great importance to change our symbolic tool kit ... it is not only to grate "the other", it is more to change ourselves, and our society.

It is like when You change a note or an accord on Your guitar, the result are not the same, is it?

(( klem ))

jozien said...

Hi Zee!
Good to see you.
Yes, what you say is interesting. I live in Champagne-Aishihik First Nation land. I don't know how it is in the States, but here we call the... original people of Canada, First Nations. When my Dutch relatives or anyone ignorant :) call them Indians, i cringe. But
like our friend Ed from Champagne used to say; we're Indians: none of that First Nation bullshit.

_z. said...

I agree with you zee.
we should be able to call and name things the way they are... "political correctness" and "euphemisms" are not the solution. You can call a person the nicest of "pseudonyms" while holding the most extreme sentiments of judgement and prejudice...

I too get called many things... and sometimes the same word drives me mad, and defensive, while at other times, I laugh about it, or just pass above it and consider it as "normal" language...
it all depends on the context and the way we say things... not what we say..

"indian" for example, can be taken as an insult, a joke, sarcasm etc... or put right... it can cause no stir at all...

so it is not about using correct language, but correct intentions.

Seraphine said...

if dick prefers to be called richard, and susan sue, who am i to call them something otherwise?
if i refer to you with an incorrect name, title or description, please tell me and i'll try not to do it again.
it should be as simple as that.

unfortunately, some boors like to walk through other people's flower beds. and various butts, taking their nightly stroll through the neighborhood, don't clean up after their pets.
and that complicates life for everyone.

either you accept that once in a while you step in dogshit, or you say something about it.

Zee said...

Anna-Lys kjaere dei!
I like your disagreement from a psychological and educational point of view. I believe that language (proper language) plays an important role when teaching children. They are formative, you can plant a positive seed there.
But us "grown-ups" mirror through our choice of words and language how we relate to a topic, thing or person and it is done in such a way that it reflects the social and cultural background where we were raised and come from.

ANNA-LYS said...

Käre Zee

Aren't we all children?
Don't You believe in life-long learning?
I do hope my brain are plastic so I still am learning and changeable. IF I would be wrong, why do we put people behind bars? - not only for teaching children right and wrong, or?
--> To foster both society and the "criminal" new behaviours ... and hopefully there are some grown-ups "out there" and "in there".

IF language shall reflect the sociocultural background during our whole lifespan, then we may as well stop all our striving for democracy and other beautiful thoughts about that we are the same, but different ;-)

Always nice to discuss with You, my friend.

Seraphine said...

wishing you wonderful, happy thanksgiving, zee. it is a pleasure visiting your blog and reading your comments. your 'directness' is both beauty and a challenge. it has substance. i'm thankful you are part of my online life.

susan said...

In his book 1984, Orwell puts it as follows: 'It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought ... should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.

In his totalitarian state the limited vocabulary of Newspeak helps to keep things simple. Thoughts are formulated in words. Hence, the absence of an inciting register causes rebellious ideas to evaporate. Orwell paints a bleak picture of a social model trapped in its own claustrophobic language: no synonyms or antonyms, just words bereft of emotional expression and society as a reflection thereof.

I think that's what you're saying and I agree. Happy Thanksgiving my non-PC friend. May kindness reign.

Per said...

Ah, Zee. You always were a cunning linguist ;o)

Zee said...

Well, thank you all very much for you thoughtful comments. It was delightful to read them.
And thank you all for the nice Turkey greetings!
On to the next thing, Topic: Energy!

Sean Jeating said...

Dropping by via Susan and after reading 14 posts plus comments, although being a notorious lazy commenter, I do feel like at least leaving a short com(pli)ment: Chapeau!