Saturday, September 25, 2010

Politically Correct For Now

For every one person I meet who actually defends the latest demand of political correctness, I meet at least a thousand who smirk, shake their heads, and roll their eyes.  Why is that so?  How is it that such a small minority can successfully become the tail that wags the dog?  No, that image is not quite right.  How can they become the very tip of the tail that wags the entire dog?

You've no doubt seen this coming for some time, but now it's official, we're no longer permitted to use the phrase "mentally retarded".  By an act of Congress--by an act of Congress!--we must now use the clumsier, more ambiguous, but less offensive, I guess, "individuals with an intellectual disability."  Apparently this shift is something "Disabilities Advocates" have long agitated for.  (Stop and think for just a moment about that silly title itself.  Do they actually advocate disabilities?)

There is much about political correctness that gets under the skin of the overwhelming majority who must bow to strictures imposed by an underwhelming minority.  In fact, that's one of them, their disproportionate power.  But another is the suggestion, the accusation actually, that the older phrase, mode, or manner was somehow mean-spirited, unjust, and obviously so.  That is not only not true, we all know it's not true.  As a result, when we pretend otherwise, it grates all the more.

Yet another reason this bugs us is that now, with almost 50 years experience with political correctness (yep, it began in the 1960s too), we know, as sure as night follows day, it'll change.  In some relatively short period of time, "individuals with mental disabilities" will become not only passe, but somehow loaded with the same implications of unkindness and ignorance as "mentally retarded" has today.

And we'll gripe, but passively bow to that change as well. 

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