We must all agree on the rules
Re: “English language dynamic and constantly changing” (Citizen online, Nov. 3)
The letter-writer either completely missed my point, or is very fond of strawman arguments — perhaps both.
I’m differentiating between the natural evolution of language, which has broad societal agreement and support, and instances where those of postmodernist/Marxist leanings have not only forced new Orwellian definitions of words on people — such as “racism” — but demanded that all prior definitions no longer exist, and that context doesn’t exist at all.
People are taught to be outraged by a definition they created in their own heads — or one created for them in a sociology-based course — regardless of what a person actually meant. Trying to be respectful won’t avoid the resulting fallout, as intent does not absolve one of the “crime” of using a secretly redefined word. Just look at the bullying John Horgan received at the hands of an activist Twitter mob, even though he used “I don’t see colour” in good faith.
We’re not talking about the gradual evolution of language, we’re talking about people — who claim to be fighting bigotry — constantly moving the goalposts in terms of not only how to fight bigotry, but how society should communicate. It has reached the point where in the name of fighting bigotry, the postmodernist/Marxist critical theorists are proposing to reintroduce segregation.
Society at large doesn’t freak out when someone uses a word in its proper context, even if that word could possibly have specific meanings that could be construed as offensive. The postmodernist/Marxist critical theory adherents, however, freak out whenever a word is used that didn’t even have an offensive context, but now suddenly they decree without warning that it is offensive. But it’s like, how was a person supposed to know? How is that freakout and bullying, harassing behavior in response to a word used in proper context with its proper definition — when someone randomly declares it has a new offensive meaning — even fair or beneficial to society? Why should we allow meanings of words to be deleted, that poor sensitive souls may never hear the word again, regardless of what it actually means? For that matter, why allow “social conservatives” to redefine “preference” even though they clearly misunderstood the definition? To allow this is a recipe for confusion.
Would Mr. Rock enjoy playing a game where the rules are constantly changing throughout gameplay but nobody knows that beforehand? A game where you can be found guilty of breaking the rules and be given a penalty for it, before a rule was even announced? That’s a game I refuse to play, and it’s one that’s not good for society, either.
Before a society can move forward, all must agree on the rules.
April J. Gibson