I am all for dissent and lively discussion, but it's a fine line to becoming a troll....or what I like to call "a parade rainer oner." Things innocuous and simple can be vaccuums for nitpickyness. Wait, I am being vague. Let me explain the situation in slightly clearer language.
The other day I left a comment on a friend's blog post about her son having an unusual name. She wrote how strangers were constantly telling her that her adorable beyond measure child had a weird name or they were just generally rude about it as they mispronounced a phonetically simple name. My comment on the posting was tongue-in-cheek and included the sentence "I think the lesson is that people are dumb. "
The next day, I happened to check her blog again after noticing it had a lot more comments [Tangent: Sometimes reading the comments is the best part of reading the blog...especially if it is a particularly good yarn.] and found the thread under my little comment had many more entries...one being this nugget of booyah, whose name has been cropped out to protect the grumbly:
|she must have done some research to note from my comment that I had a disability.|
This floored me. Look, I know I'm a bit brash, and there are heaps of things you can call me on the carpet for [Tangent: I am kind of obnoxious. I apologize too much (probably due to my obnoxious nature). I suck at proofreading. I sometimes laugh so hard at the things in my head that I cannot complete a sentence.] , but in the long line of sins this isn't one I ever expected! Yes, I probably could have used a better word than dumb and it was a slightly hyperbolized assessment, but it was a fair one "RUDE PEOPLE ARE DUMB!"[Tangent: And I recognize this because have had my rude moments, and generally they were born from ignorance or lack of consideration.]
Now that I'm working for a disability organization part-time, I am becoming really well-versed in considerate and people first language. I've always been respectful and never tried to be offensive, but I'm not one to be overly politically correct either. Creatively using words and expressing myself through language are very important, and I believe being overly politically correct is a slippery slope to complete censorship. [Tangent: Like you'll never hear me use the term differently-abled...even typing those letters sequentially makes the bile rise up. I don't care if you do, I just likely won't because I find it vague and off-putting. I will however never use the R-word again because the pain of it's impact is too fresh on society and I have seen first hand the pain it can cause.]
Sure, the term dumb once meant exclusivelyunable to speak, but who uses that meaning anymore? Lots of words have dark origins, and it seems counter-productive to progress to dwell on them. EX: The word villain has it it's origins in the word "villa" and was used to denote poor people. The nursery rhyme "Ring around the Rosey" is all about people dying in the black plague. However, these things have just become part of our lexicon. It's not going to stop them from using them.
For about two seconds I felt bad for upsetting this stranger [Tangent: Maybe I was being dumb?] , so I did a little research on other words which are being lobbied for to become taboos. Man, there were A LOT! Check some out here. Some seemed legitimate and hurtful if used in certain context [Tangent: Like calling someone with diagnosed mental illness "crazy" maybe is a poor decision, but saying that people who wait in line before stores open on tax-free weekend are a bit crazy...I just don't see the issue. Call me crazy! ], but others just seemed to be hypercritical.