The English language is supposed to aid communication but I sometimes wonder how true that is.
I was reading a column by author Gervaise Phinn recently and it proved a real eye-opener.
He is having problems from a school headteacher, who took him to task for referring to ‘nit picking’ and ‘brainstorming’, both apparently are non-PC terms due to associations with slavery and people with learning difficulties.
Schools in America have refused to stock a book about dolphins because it discriminated against pupils who do not live near the sea and a story called Silly Old Woman was banned because of the stereotype of an elderly woman.
Similar fates befell a hen-pecked husband (sexist), past one’s prime (ageist) and books about dinosaurs (they upset people who do not believe in the theory of evolution).
You may laugh, but things are no better over this side of the Atlantic. Reports recently told of a job centre refusing an advert for a ‘hard-working’ person because it could be seen as offensive to anyone who was lazy!
There also seems to be a rise in the number of groups and committees being addressed by inanimate items of furniture.
I was brought up to believe that a chair was something to sit on, unless it was a verb.
It was strange enough when reference was made to a chairwoman or chairperson, instead of chairman, but now just a chair?
Do I take it we are all members of the ‘hu’ race and that the present football Premier League champions should be referred to as ‘Chester’ United?
Indeed, should members of the opposite sex be referred to as ‘fe’ or ‘wo’? Where will it end?
Should we fear for the future of personkind?
This article first appeared in the Diss Express