A black ban on certain words

It is quite an astonishing thing how suddenly words we have been using all our lives become forbidden in polite company. And it does annoy me that for some reason I am generally clued in about what’s OK and what’s not. Although I may now have reached an age where either the message doesn’t get to me, or I cannot be bothered paying attention, or I just don’t care, I nevertheless find that I don’t break the rules, or not usually. And being aware of all of this, you won’t, for example, catch me using particular terminology to describe people of low mental abilities using any of those insensitive words from yesteryear. Nor will I use any of the terms from my youth about people who do not have the complete use of their limbs. And in this country, I am very careful to say “Aboriginals”, although I might still say Indians when I am talking about “Native Americans”, but that’s probably only because I don’t live there since they now too say “aboriginals”, and thus no longer distinguish between the ones that lived on the prairies and rode horses in comparison with those who lived north of the frost line and were pulled along on a dog sled. As for the Washington football team, it is hard to know whether it is even permissible to be one of its supporters – and now that I live here, I would never, ever say I r–t for the home team.

And so we come to Senator Abetz who described Mr Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court as a “Negro” and has raised a ruckus among some of the most dreary people on the planet. They may disagree with everything that Justice Thomas says, but they will defend until the next change of official nomenclature the rightful moral turpitude that surrounds using this word in describing someone of Justice Thomas’s ancestry. I, of course, remember when it was suddenly unacceptable to say that word, which was replaced by “black”. And so, on those occasions I would need to refer to the racial origins of Louis Armstrong say, that would be the word I would use.

But now even that is out. In the US, it is now near-mandatory to say “African-American”. You can see Gerard Henderson wasn’t going to get caught out in the same way as Senator Abetz in discussing this very issue:

According to Craig Reucassel, the term “negro” is no longer used in civilised society with respect to negro music. Wrong — if anyone pays attention to David Marr. And, according to Julian Morrow, anyone who uses the term “negro” in contemporary discussion of African-Americans is a racist. Wrong. Unless the Chaser Boys regard your man Marr as a racist.

Of course it doesn’t make any difference what David Marr says to these people, since no one on the left wants to make cheap political points attacking him. Senator Abetz, on the other hand, that’s something different again. Political correctness is group think for people too dull-witted to think for themselves.

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