With Apologies to Cashews and Almonds…You’re Nuts

by Telling Dad on November 30, 2013

Earlier today I was given a link to one of the more enjoyable, funny, and sarcastic posts I’ve read in quite some time. It focused on the growing obsession over being politically correct in all facets of speech and communication.

Ironically enough, the post wasn’t intended to be funny OR sarcastic. It was definitely enjoyable because the piece was loaded with runaway trains of thought and accidental comedic gems that would have been fantastic punchlines had the writer not repeatedly made it clear she was serious.

When I reached the end of the article and no “Gotcha!” was present, I knew I had stumbled upon a prime example of how the absurdity of political correctness has reached bewildering heights. As with anything published on the Internet, I fully expected the Comments section to be littered with mockery.

Instead, those leaving comments were not only in agreement, but seemed highly motivated to take the controversy to a whole new level.

And the controversy at hand? A philosophical rant suggesting that phrases like “blinded by privilege,” “justice is blind,” and “blinded by greed” are insulting to blind people.

Not insulting to the person or persons the phrases are actually directed towards, but rather they’re insulting to the blind.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

I’ve long felt that our nation’s self-appointed P.C. Police have been absolutely out of control and getting more and more overzealous in their quest to muzzle even the most innocuous of phrases. I now fear that it’s gotten to the point that no matter what is said, someone somewhere will follow a dizzying array of offshoot branches and subsets of meaning to find offense.

Last year, when I casually remarked on Facebook that the football game I was watching was “crazy” I was reprimanded and told that using that term was offensive. I thought she was joking to the point that I replied with an “LOL.” After an awkward pause she explained that saying something is “crazy” is offensive because it implies that those with a mental disorder aren’t normal…as though there’s something wrong with them.

Well…DUH!

Isn’t this why they’re diagnosed with a mental disorder? Because they aren’t considered normal?

This fact aside, my comment wasn’t even directed at people with mental issues. It wasn’t some commentary on their affliction or a joke at their expense. It was simply my summed-up recap of a football game loaded with surprising twists and turns. It was, without a doubt, crazy. Not “babbling of the lips with fingers” crazy…just…well, crazy!

Throughout our short exchange I honestly couldn’t tell if she was joking. But after visiting her Facebook Wall to grab a better portrait of the person lecturing me, it was apparent that she had worn out her fair share of soapboxes over the years. She was looking for a fight and I wasn’t about to give it to her.

I think some people lay in wait for an opportunity to build mountains out of molehills. Like a mosquito needing blood to survive, it’s almost as though they need controversy to find purpose. Void of it, they’ll manufacture it.

There were many favorite excerpts from this piece, but the following mind-bending tongue twister is what stuck with me the most:

“I understand that it’s an evocative word that brings to mind exactly what one tries to evoke when talking about the spots that our privilege has prevented us from perceiving. But using “blindness” to describe the oppression that we unknowingly inflict on people is othering and stigmatizing and ultimately able-ist. Using the term “blindness” to reflect mishaps of privilege is a way to further ingrain the oppression of those with little or no sight.”

To be honest, I had to Google some of the big boy words she was using to make her point, but the overall gist is that using “blindness” as an adjective in any form only oppresses the blind, thereby implying that they require special assistance. Like…canes, guide dogs, and Braille. According to the author, it appears that blind people don’t want the stigma associated with being blind because people may assume they can’t see just because they’re blind.

I dunno.

One commenter went so far as to theorize that the reason only 10% of blind children can read Braille is because the parents are too afraid of the stigma associated with visual impairment to draw attention to them. Meaning, they’re so afraid of people finding out their children are blind that they withhold them from learning how to read. Thereby implying that 90% of blind children have spineless parents who would rather let their children grow up to be dipshizzles than admit they can’t see.

When Heather accuses me of being blind because I can’t see the mustard in the side door of our refrigerator, she’s implying that I can’t see. This isn’t an insult to blind people. It’s insult to ME. It’s not a stereotype. It’s a fact. Blind people can’t see.

So when Heather implies that I’m also unable to see because I can’t find the mustard hiding in plain sight, she’s sarcastically suggesting I must be blind. Which, when it comes to condiments, is a completely valid accusation.

Look, I’m all for sensitivity and compassion, but I think we’re turning into a nation of wusses where the mass majority feel compelled to coddle to the P.C. fractional few.

Case in point:

“It got me thinking about the use of the term “right” to mean “opposite of left” as well as “correct.” Couldn’t someone who is left-handed reason that “left” equals “wrong”?”

Clearly, this needs to stop.

The P.C. Police are running amok and they’re obviously drunk with the very power they’ve deputized themselves with (my apologies if I’ve offended alcoholics) (or deputies).

I don’t know how many of my readers are left-handed but if ANY of you are offended by the use of the word “right” in a directional context, you need to get a grip.

“Do I turn right?”

“What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?! You think you’re better than me?!”

On the plus side, this mind-numbing dictionary-laden ramble did appear to inspire to some social change in whatever circle these literary overachievers belong to:

“As a person with sight, I am going to completely discontinue the use of a phrase that alienates and others an entire group of people.”

Another commenter added, with considerable applause afterwards:

“I might suggest that, rather than using ‘blinded by privilege’ the phrase might grow into ‘blinkered by privilege’. To be blinkered is to have a limited and subjective viewpoint or perception. It doesn’t altogether do away with the linking of vision and recognition, but blinkered might help avoid any stigmatization of blindness.”

Interesting. But while this may ease the pain and suffering of oppressed blind people around the world, it could still be offensive to those who blink. In fact, as a habitual blinker myself, I find this suggested replacement phrase offensive.

“Heather,” I said after reading all this nonsense aloud to her, “I hope I’m never trapped in a room with any of these people. They would drive me absolutely crazy.”

“You know,” she said with a subtle smile, “as a driver…I find that offensive.”

Touché.

________________________________________________

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity July 30, 2013 at 1:50 am

I’m glad I helped you with blog fodder, Greg. I truly want to write about this crap myself, but trying to make any sense of that enlightened feminazi logic gives me a migraine. Plus, my take on it would descend into a profanity-laden diatribe on how stupid these people are.

Did I mention that I found the link to this fascinating post on a FB thread by author Anne Rice? She had linked an article by a NY Times journalist stating that the use of the term “reached a crescendo” was incorrectly used and offensive to musicians. The feminazi post writer thought that her post fit nicely with Mrs. Rice’s thread and linked it. I do wonder now if Anne read it and scratched her head the way we did after thebmental assault. lol

Reply

Meg July 30, 2013 at 4:20 am

And here I thought I was going to be reading something else at 5am. I don’t know what I thought I would be reading, but I think I got very confused in the middle.. ya know, where you quoted someone. Barely awake, with a few sips of coffee in me, but, just my bleary eyed take on this is… WTF? Are these people for real?? I didn’t understand most of the paragraph, and I’m glad you explained it, because I wasn’t about to google that mess at 5am. I do however, love Heather’s quick wit.

Reply

Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity July 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

Yes, these people are for real. The idiocy of the actual post is superceded by the comments left on it which literally go down a PC rabbit hole previously unknown to the normal people of society. It was like reading a brand new rule book for humans that was written by someone who hits the crack pipe on an hourly basis. Or they are mentally ill and in desperate need of heavy psychotropic medications, a rubber room and the white jacket with the sleeves in the back. The fact that they believe their own tripe was most disturbing.

Joanna July 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

Oh. My. God. Wait, did I just offend and atheist? Or a Christian? I’m so confused!! Seriously though, I couldn’t agree more…for the most part. It gets a bit hazy for me here and there with respects to the word “retarded” however. I have a little girl with multiple special needs and is medically fragile and to hear people use the word retarded in a derogatory way makes my blood boil. But then there are people who get mad when I say she has “disabilities”. Apparently I am offending them when I admit the obvious. That my child who, while very smart and a total joy, cannot walk, talk, eat by mouth and has spastic quadriplegia, has (gasp!) disabilities. I am supposed to say she is, get this, “Differently abled”. Ugh. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. ;)

Reply

Dee July 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

Agree completely. I have a cousin who’s always saying “this is retarded” or “look at that retard” and I cringe each time. I consider that totally insensitive. Other than that though it’s getting to where you’re afraid to say anything in fear of offending someone and it’s not the person who would or should be offended that’s spouting off but everyone else who thinks the world should be PC. Before I start listening to those who say I’m being offensive I need to hear it from the person or people I’m supposedly offending not someone jumping on the bandwagon of the month.

Emilie July 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

Wow. I don’t even know what to say with this one except that the author has gone way over the top with being politically correct. In my experience, assuming what others find offensive without being in that particular group of people or very close to someone in it is rather offensive to me. So if you are blind and want to write about how you feel when people use the term to insult another, go for it. I will totally hear you out. But standing up not because you have personal experience of being a part of the “oppressed” group but just because you’ve decided to take a random stand in the name of good gives no actual validity to that stand. I personally don’t know anyone who is blind but I don’t assume to know how they feel when people use the term either. Making assumptions can really make anyone look like an ass. (No offense to any donkeys or anyone who owns a donkey out there.)

Reply

Shelley July 30, 2013 at 8:59 am

People need to get a grip and worry about truly important issues.
I 100% agree that politcal correctness is getting out of hand. Many words in the dictionary have many uses so as long as a phrase is not said to be mean directly to a person, they need to get over it!
How about devoting that much time to a worthy cause, they could use the help. Maybe reading to the blind instead of talking about them?

Reply

Shelly Erckenbrack July 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

Our daughter is 6. She also happens to be blind. We still say to her; Look at this or face me.
I still ask my 11 year old “Are you blind?” When he is walking right past the shoes he has been trying to find for an half hour.
Only 10% of blind kids read or write braille, because it is hard. Really, really hard. It is a code with weird rules. Hook words (smashed together) contraction symbols (one or two letters stand for a whole word). The school taught her numbers using the whole cell (6 dots) to find out math is done using only the bottom 4 dots (she has to relearn her numbers). Our last name has 11 letters, for our daughter it only has 9. We taught her how to spell it, the school had to fix it. And if you don’t happen to live by a school for the blind or can’t afford to move to the city that houses your states school for the blind. You are stuck with your local school district who asks you, if something is right or wrong. Pretty much the blind leading the blind.
I have also told my kids to quit acting crazy and are you nuts? Don’t be stupid and have you lost your mind?
Because no matter what, she is still a kid trying to grow up and live in this world. Not some pretty prefect land where unicorns live.

Reply

Jeanette July 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Thank you for the information about braille. I learned something new today.

Anais July 30, 2013 at 11:16 am

Hi – longtime reader, first time commenter. In the interest of full transparency, I should probably note I’m a deaf woman who’s done a lot of work on disability inclusion and who has also worked with people who have several different types of disabilities.

I agree with Greg that the article is pretty overinflated, mainly for the reason that Emilie suggested: It wasn’t written by someone who is blind. It’s something written by a person who, if they haven’t talked to someone from the blind community, really should. Every blind person I’ve known thus far would not, and do not, take offense at common English expressions like “see you later” and “blinded by justice.” If there did happen to be a blind person who wanted to have a discussion about English colloquialisms, then I’d take them more seriously and listen to what they have to say.

Language is an important discussion for minority groups to have. I do believe that, having dealt with too much discrimination in their lives, that they have the right to decide what to call themselves and what terminology is appropriate. For example, almost every person with an intellectual disability (and their families) that I know finds the word “retard” to be highly offensive and hurtful, and knowing that, I can’t ever be comfortable with the use of “retard” in everyday conversation. Growing up I was often called “hearing impaired”, which I now find distasteful as (to me) it implies brokenness, and I do take offense at the term “deaf and dumb” (as I don’t consider myself or other deaf people dumb). I’d really prefer to be called hard-of-hearing or deaf. In these two examples, the terminology is very closely tied to issues of identity and self-worth – and I think that’s a valid linguisitic discussion to have. English is a living language, and will continue to evolve and incorporate terms that are respectful and more accurate of minority groups (and, unfortunately, will also probably create more terms that are not).

But that evolution isn’t what’s happening in the above example. It’s someone who has overthought the situation on behalf of a population they are not part of. Yes, it’s important to talk about terminology and language, and how that affects our perception of people with different backgrounds and beliefs (feminazi versus feminist, retard/cripple/handicapped/insane versus person with a disability, fag versus gay or lesbian, negro/colored versus black, etc.), but that doesn’t mean we need to butcher the English language over it.

Also, I’m not a fan of “differently abled.” My pet theory is that it’s a term made up to help the parents or teachers more than a child with disabilities. In five years of this work, I’ve never met a grown adult who uses the phrase “differently abled” to describe themselves! :)

Reply

trisha July 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

I like Heather.

Reply

Beth July 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm

OK. I have to say I laughed my tushy off. And I have to tell you that the Italian word for “left” is “sinistra” as in sinister.

Definition of Sinister from the Babylon English Dictionary:
evil, malicious; threatening, ominous, portending evil; left, on the left side

And I am betting it was because they thought lefties were somewhat shady. Hilarious!! Thanks for the laugh.

Reply

Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity July 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Well, my husband is a leftie and he has the handwriting of a serial killer. Then again, he started out a rightie but his brother kept making him use his left hand for some unknown reason. lol

Trish August 3, 2013 at 8:43 am

Back when (even back to ancient times) they actually did consider it a sign of evil/the devil to be left handed.

Jeanette July 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

It sounds like the woman has misapplied her education.

However, I am left handed, so I could be wrong about that ;

Reply

Tarisa July 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Oh my cow. I have no words. Almost. I went to the blog mentioned just so I could read the inanity for myself. I’m guessing the author doesn’t realize there is more than one definition for the word “blind”. Just as there is more than one definition for the word “dumb”. I hope she understands that, when commenting on her diatribe, my words are most definitely not aimed at those who can’t speak. Just because you are entitled to freedom of speech, it doesn’t mean you should always act upon it.

Reply

Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity July 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm

She’ll never let your comment through. lol She won’t allow dissention in her comments. Sad, really.

Naila Moon July 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I am 95% deaf…really!
I am not offended.
I will let you know when I am or maybe not. ;)

Reply

valmg @ Mom Knows It All July 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I am not a very sensitive person and try to keep others feelings in mind.
I have a son with Down syndrome and am very offended when people misuse the word retarded. I seethe inside when I hear it and I will debate its use with anyone.
I cringe at the idea of offending anyone.
I term myself, after being told by my parents for years, “blind as a bat”. I can’t see for squat. I thought for years that bats probably didn’t see well. I found out that many bats can see quite well. I did not rush to apologize to the global community of bats.
I have been trying to see how blind could be construed as derogatory and just can’t.

Reply

Chelle B. July 31, 2013 at 1:50 am

Great post. I really wish these types of people would cut their tongues out so they won’t offend anyone, because that’s where it’s headed.

That won’t be enough though, so they need to poke their eyes out so they can’t see all that does or could potentially offend them.

Then they should just throw themselves off a cliff. You know, just to stop annoying the crap out of the rest of us. :)

Reply

Vanessa July 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I can’t help but assume that those people are just trying SO hard to show off that they are some how smarter and more ‘aware’ than the rest of us. But in the real world we’re getting the last laugh.

And this person —-> “It got me thinking about the use of the term “right” to mean “opposite of left” as well as “correct.” Couldn’t someone who is left-handed reason that “left” equals “wrong”?”

That person needs to go back to grade school. But then again I guess I would be offending children everywhere.

Reply

karen August 1, 2013 at 7:01 am

I’ve believed for many years that the world has gone “insane” with Political Correctness…….beginning with trying to teach preschoolers to sing “One little, two little, three little…… Native Americans”??????

Reply

Patti August 2, 2013 at 8:52 am

Now just a minute. Couldn’t the term blinkered be offensive to horses and their owners?? I have never heard that word used in relationship to anything but animals :)

I am sooooooo with you on the ridiculousness of PC

patti

Reply

Trish August 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

The English language has SO many definitions for most of our words, it’s why it’s so hard to learn, and that’s where a lot of blame can be placed. For some people that are, seemingly, educated this shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp. Apparently it is though or people wouldn’t go on inane rants like that.

Reply

Jessica August 5, 2013 at 7:53 am

I can understand the sentiment behind thoughts like this. I get annoyed when people use the phrase, “That is so gay” to mean that something is bad. It’s twisting the word into a new meaning that is derogatory.

However, it sounds like these people started down the road of good intentions and kept going several miles beyond the point where it stopped making sense. Using the word blind for its true meaning in a metaphor about not being able to see – how the hell could that be offensive? Now, if people were to start using the word blind to mean rubbish in contexts that had nothing to do with seeing – that would be something to complain about.

Reply

Ben Ashton August 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Have any of these idiots ever asked the blind, the disabled, the awkward or even the boy scouts whether they want someone who is probably a sandwich short of a picnic to run around arguing on their behalf? Probably not.

Reply

Jaye August 10, 2013 at 8:37 am

I live in WA state. The State that is so PC you are almost afraid to breathe (sorry if I offended breathers everywhere). This state is changing all language to be gender neutral. Post person not post man etc etc. The worst one? Kids are no longer Freshmen. Nope. They are “First years”. My born in WA, going into 9th grade daughter looked at me and said “I am a FRESHMAN. I have earned that title. They can throw me in jail for all I care”. And I agree with her…except maybe we’ve now offended criminals.
Sigh.

Reply

Tracy Baldwin August 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

My favorite line today: It’s not a stereotype. It’s a fact. Blind people can’t see.

I hope the other lines in your post are not offended that I singled one out as a favorite.

Reply

Kevin August 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm

There’s a quote in George Orwell’s 1984 when one character in the Ministry of Language says to another, “Isn’t it funny, in ten years time we won’t be able to have this conversation.” Their job is removing words from the dictionary that could be used in conversations to subvert to power of Big Brother.

It seems to me that these people who want to ban terms like ‘are you blind?’ are just like those sinister characters in 1984; 21st Century ‘Thought Police’ trying to shape the language we use to get us to conform to their extremist PC beliefs.

I mean, only an idiot or a bigot would actually insult a blind person for being blind. The vast majority of us have a PC understanding and know where the line is. But these people you write about are drawing lines of their own that are just as inappropriate to people in the real world.

Reply

Mishka September 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Why is it that we have such a hard time with moderation? I understand wanting to be PC, to a point. I, personally, don’t want to accidentally offend someone, or give someone the impression that I am an insensitive idiot because I have chosen to use words that they find offensive. There are lots of issues that many of us might have, that are not out front and visible. I try, as much as I can, to refrain from generalizations, because I know that none of us fit into a box. While I do all these things, I also try to be a moderate and refrain from extremes in all areas.

This person is taking it to an extreme, and the problem with extremes is that they tend to create generalizations that we all hate. So now, anyone that wants to be considerate of others when they speak, is automatically clumped as a PC zealot and that sucks because I want to be considerate but I don’t want to be clumped. Clumping makes me mad…LOL

Reply

Amy ebel October 14, 2013 at 8:47 am

‘It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that.” Well, so
what?’ —Stephen Fry

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: