letters

Language evolves and changes

These are not tricks and word play. They are the evolution of society.

Language evolves and changes

In response to the letter submitted by S. Innis I would like to ask some questions and make some observations.

I believe that people should be able to have ownership of how they are identified. Out of respect for my fellow human being I try to accommodate that desired identification. I have no wish to demean or hurt any group by my ignorance.

How would S. Innis like us to refer to someone who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized?

What words would make S. Innis feel valued yet still describe someone who does not respect their fellow man enough to use language that is deemed to not be degrading or belittling?

How can we accommodate S. Innis’s delicate sensibilities yet still communicate to him that his desire to use outdated and offensive terms and labels, without consequence, is no longer achievable?

These are not tricks and word play. They are the evolution of society. Eugenics is no longer practiced, consensual sexual relations between same sex couples is no longer a criminal nor capital offence, and women do get to vote. All shocking advancements to some, I am sure, but advancements nonetheless.

There are many words and terms that we do not use anymore. Thankfully, language, like the people that use it, evolves and changes.

There is no great conspiracy to silence anyone. If speaking in a respectful and kind manner without degrading or demeaning anyone is silencing S. Innis, then perhaps it is time for a broadening of his vocabulary.

Dara Quast

Cobble Hill

Letters