Politically Correct Language
July 2016  
"The smaller our world becomes, the more important it is that we understand each other."
--Patricia May, CEO & President of Tembua

Politically Correct Language: Courtesy or Weakness?

I've heard several politicians sneer recently that they were going to tell it like it is and not be concerned with politically correct language.

Isn't it funny how we come up with a label that spins an issue to suit our preferences?

Synonyms for politically correct include neutral, appropriate, unbiased, nondiscriminatory. Its opposite is offensive.

My mother wouldn't have recognized the term politically correct language, but she certainly stepped down hard on us when our words were what she called not nice.
She said that if our words hurt someone or were disrespectful, we should change them or, better yet, be quiet. Her admonitions included my working-class father as the country went through vocabulary changes regarding black citizens.

The phrase politically correct appears to have arisen during the 1930s to mean using correct language. But it was becoming ironic when the New York Times reported on Nazi Germany in 1934 that "All journalists must have a permit to function and such permits are granted only to pure 'Aryans' whose opinions are politically correct."

The term has been associated with the left and with social movements, but today the term seems to have morphed into an insult.
As a linguist, I'm interested when a phrase becomes a cudgel to bash people on the other side of an issue. The Urban Dictionary defines politically correct as A way that we speak in America so we don't offend whining pussies. Only pathetically weak people that don't have the balls to say what they feel and mean are politically correct pussies. That's definitely beyond ironic!

There are even politically correct bedtime stories. The author is James Finn Garner, and here's an excerpt from Little Red Riding Hood:
The wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, world view..."

Now, see if you can find someone to insult by calling them politically correct. And don't forget to sneer.

Upcoming Events
Tembua is pleased to be invited to the
7th Annual GM Supplier Connections event in
Sterling Heights, Michigan next month.

We look forward to networking with over 100 Tier 1 suppliers and other M/WBE exhibitors along with all the other attendees.

We'll tell you all about it in the next Trunklines including flying over Lake Michigan in a private plane!

On the Road
Jeff Olsen, Tembua's VP of International Sales, has been the active traveler recently.  At the International BIO Conference in San Francisco he made numerous new connections and talked to old friends.  A trip to Orlando found him renewing acquaintanceship  with many people in the supplier diversity community at the National WBENC Conference. His frequent flyer miles are adding up!

In This Issue
We Need a Comprehensive DNA Registry
Taking my cue from OZY.com, this is my own Immodest Proposal:
Every girl and boy shall have a DNA sample taken at birth. Proof of such sample shall be a requirement for entrance into any school receiving public aid and for issuance of a Social Security number.
Visitors to our country shall have a sample taken at the border. The samples shall be destroyed when they leave.
Samples shall be kept by number in a secure registry. A key linking numbers and identities shall be maintained but shall not be open to the public.
Samples may be used to:
Identify corpses that are too badly decomposed for other means.
Determine parents. Every child shall have two parents determined. Fathers and mothers shall be responsible for the care of children through age 18. Boys shall be taught at an early age that if they start a baby, they will be located and forced to accept the responsibility for that child.
Verify the presence of an individual at a crime scene.
Help with genetic testing.
A comprehensive DNA registry would solve a whole host of problems in our society. And if someone were to propose such an idea, I would be the first in line protesting!

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