I want to talk about rhetoric and the effect it has on society.
We, as in people in general, don’t consider our words nearly as often as we should. We throw around language that may be harmful to people based on gender, race, sexuality, disability, etc.
We have no problem throwing around “bitch” or “chick,” “crazy” or “bipolar,” and, well, you get the point.
Now, there’s a subset of people who think that having any problem with this makes people oversensitive. After all, back when white people freaked out when a black person used the same drinking fountain as them, no one was remotely that sensitive. Right? Right?
Others claim that we shouldn’t discuss language because there are so many “real” problems to contend with. And while they’re right in that there are many more serious problems to deal with, it all starts with language.
Language is how we normalize perceptions and make behavior acceptable based on the ingrained societal stereotypes inherent in our everyday rhetoric.
And yes, it’s a veritable minefield for the uninformed to navigate without a misstep. The cool part is that it’s OK to misstep so long as you shut up and listen, then correct your behavior.
It’s doesn’t take a lot of take the time and learn how to shift your language for the benefit of those around you. It’s not about “political correctness,” or “policing” your speech. It’s about behaving like a moral, adult human being, and respecting those around you as you would wish to be respected.
That doesn’t sound so bad, now does it?