We live in a society in which anything said or done is scrutinized by others. Everyone feels they need to tell us what or who we can talk about. Topics are deemed taboo or socially wrong to talk about. If it hurts one person’s feelings, we have to ban its usage, and words which were never offensive are manipulated into becoming taboo as well. Likewise, inappropriate words in regular conversation are barred from usage in situations where they were utilized appropriately. And all of this really pisses me off.
My most potent example is based in an experience from school this year. A student teacher decided that “colored” or “negro” were not appropriate to be read aloud in A Streetcar Named Desire. I’m sorry to inform people, but neither of those words are offensive; they are just older terms for the more recent term African-American (which is historically inaccurate, as not all black people are from Africa, or live in America.) So guess what, I’m going to use any word to describe anybody that I like. I am frustrated that the double standard of the “n-Word” is accepted in society; white people are not allowed to say it, but it is accepted by the black community to say.
Furthermore, the crackdown on other terms is just ridiculous. It is the job of the media to report on the news, not create it. If a celebrity, sports star or politician says an offensive term in private and not publicly, which has negative connotations to homosexuals or special ed people , we need to understand that it is their own right to say what they want and it is not necessary to dissect and criticize. We need to get over the fact that they could offend somebody, and forget about even reporting it to make a story. We need to stop riding our moral high horses and get over the fact that some people aren’t as politically correct as others.
My final point lies in semantics. What is the real difference between calling someone mentally deficient and referring to them as retarded. It is the way we use the words that make them hurtful. If we used retarded with positive connotations, then it is just a word. To sugar-coat everything by creating new terms that refer to the same thing is just ridiculous. Call it what it is, and save the $5 words for the vocabulary books. When we realize that Kobe Bryant calling a referee a “faggot” does not mean he thinks the ref is gay, nor does he hate gay people, will really assist us as a culture in becoming less judgemental and a less high-horse sitting, overly moralistic society that we have today. Just as Obama does not hate Special Olympics people even though he referred to his bowling skills as if he was one of them, we need to understand context, and stop to think what he actually meant. He didn’t bowl particularly well, and although he could have chosen better words to demonstrate that, he should not be deemed as anti-disabled people. We just need to figure out what is really important in this world, and life will be less confrontational.