It’s Friday and I want to talk about meaty stuff, this week. Allison, a regular reader, wrote to me about her daughter who has a chronic and incurable condition.
My daughter was born with a rare genetic syndrome called Mowat-Wilson syndrome. She will never speak. She is significantly developmentally delayed and suffers serious cognitive issues. Using the word ‘retard‘ is offensive in the special needs community… and I think this would be a great blog post ….kind of a diversity awareness blog heightening the awareness of all the HR readers that read your post.
Readers, where do you fall on the use of the words gay, retarded, bitch, chick, and other words that are deemed offensive by certain parts of our society? Part of me really understands where Allison comes from because I would never want to offend anyone with my language. Another part of me wants to talk about the roots of language.
- Are words absolute?
- Do words have any meaning except the meaning we give them?
- Are some words absolutely offensive under all circumstances?
- Can we use the same words in different contexts and to different audiences without violating social contracts and societal norms?
What do you think?
As a side note — when Hillary Duff did her Don’t Call People Gay PSA, it made me want to call people gay. I don’t need Hillary Duff giving me a lesson on hermeneutics, political correctness, or the origins of language. (I will take a lesson from Wanda Sykes, though. I love her.)