It would seem that the Enlightened, i.e. those whose moral sensibilities are offended by the name of “Redskins” for a professional sports team, want to purge our language of every “racist,” “sexist,” “classist,” “imperialist,” “colonialist,” and “homophobic” word.
The funny thing is, though, given their terms of choice, the Enlightened make it painfully clear that they aren’t particularly enlightened at all.
To begin with, the Enlightened, like most of us, live in a universe composed of words of a specific language, namely, the English language. The latter, of course, is not only a product of European or Western civilization; it is the dominant language of the world today.
In the idiom of the Enlightened, we can say of English that it is as “imperialistic” or “colonialist” a language as any, for the entire cosmos is carved up, and is expected to be parceled by others, in terms of this language, that of a European, i.e., a white, people.
But this is the language of the Enlightened.
Secondly, the Enlightened demand of the rest of us that we substitute for “black” when describing Americans of the Negroid race the more sophisticated nomenclature of “African-American.” How primitive: this last moniker is doubly insensitive.
“America” derives from the name of the Italian—a European, Western, white, male—explorer Amerigo Vespucci. “America” is the feminine version of “Amerigo,” and it was coined in 1507 by a German—a European, Westerner, white, male—cartographer. In 1538, when another German—a European, Western, white, male—cartographer, the famous Gerardus Mercator, was mapping out the world, he chose to ascribe the name of “America” to its regions on both sides of the equator.
“Africa,” it may interest inquiring minds to discover, is a term of Roman—European, Western, white—coinage. The Romans—the largest group of “imperialists” and “colonialists” the world had ever seen until that juncture in history—used the Latin term “afri” to reference, first, a Libyan tribe in North Africa that dwelt outside of Carthage, the capital of “Africa Province,” and, later, Carthage as well. The suffix of “Africa,” “-ica,” signifies a land or territory.
So, even “Africa” is, ultimately, the invention of a bunch of wealthy, imperialistic, colonialist, white guys.
Thirdly, there is the word “Native American” that the Enlightened insist we use in place of the “racist,” “ethnocentric” term, “Indian.” After all, reason the Enlightened in all of their brilliance, “Indian” is a term that the evil Columbus and his cohorts imposed upon the indigenous peoples that they “encountered” while asserting their “imperialist” designs upon the latter. And this was only because the European oppressors thought that they had arrived in India.
However, as we just noted, “America,” to a much greater extent than “Indian,” reflects the incorrigibly ethnocentric impress of the Europeans—the whites—who “encountered” the indigenous peoples to whom, the Enlightened demand, we assign the label, “Native American.”
How “racist,” how culturally “insensitive” can we get?!
Fourthly, the Enlightened routinely lecture us on the “misogyny” underwriting the use of the word “man” in contexts that should encompass both men and women. Thus, they tell us, since the masculine “man” and its cognates—“he,” “men”—are “sexist,” we must delete them from our vocabulary and replace them with “humankind,” “humanity,” “human beings,” “he or she,” etc.
Wow. Do these people really want for us to return to the “Dark Ages” of rampant “sexism?”
“Man” stems from a word that originally referred to all humans. The word for a male human is a different word altogether. It wasn’t until the late 13th century that the word for “man” began to be used to describe male humans. But rather than reclaim the original, gender-inclusive meaning of “man,” the Enlightened have chosen instead to become accomplices to the ravenous misogyny that lead to the “sexist” narrowing of this definition in the late 1200’s. This is the only verdict to draw from the fact that the Enlightened have long ago charged as “sexist” any author or speaker who dares to continue the age-old practice of employing “man” and “he” to signify both men and women.
Finally, the Enlightened inexhaustibly extol “Equality” as the queen of all virtues. In doing so, they just as tirelessly condemn the “hierarchical” and “patriarchal” character of Western civilization.
In spite of this, the Enlightened refuse to abandon the use of titles and other reference terms that undermine the cause of Equality. Words like “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.”, “Dr.”, “President,” “Senator,” “Congressman,” “Your Honor,” “sir,” “ma’am,” “gentlemen,” “ladies,” “youth,” “adolescents,” “the elderly,” “young adults,” “middle aged adults,” “seasoned citizens,” “boys,” “girls,” “women,” “men,” and even “mom” and “dad” at once express and reinforce the infinitude of distinctions to be found between people. More damning, they reveal and cement the hierarchical relations that exist between human stations.
Only the unenlightened could fail to see that for a truly “classless” or egalitarian society to arise, these are among the words that must be purged from our language.
It bears underscoring that I am in no way advocating on behalf of any changes in our vocabulary. The point, of course, is that in quality and quantity, the hypocrisy, moral posturing, and inconsistencies of the Enlightened are epic.