Tue, 16 Mar 2010 04:30:00 +0000
I really seriously SERIOUSLY fucking hate it when someone has to put the word positive in as a modifier or as a qualitative statement when speaking about a Black Woman.
I hate it even more when it’s applied to me.
I suggested to this new find of mine (@weebeastie on twitter) that it might be telling to start using ‘positive White person’ all the time and see what happens, and that got me remembering something from Uni.
I had a professor that was so steeped in Politically Correct language that I really don’t even think he realised what he was doing sometimes, or how strange he sounded, tying himself into verbal knots, working in all the with the latest nomenclatures that had gotten their fifteen-minute stamp of approval. Listening to him speak was like watching a contortionist, one that constantly modified every pose in case it deemed too suggestive. One wondered, in the end, how he didn’t end up too tangled to talk about anything at all.
The wordsmith in me trumps the liberal (sorry, ‘Person of Left-leaning’) and no matter how well-meaning, non-intuitive phrasing jars my ears. I agree most with Francine Fialkoff, when she said: “Ultimately, however, we hope we use language that is more sensitive without enforcing strident political correctness or orthodoxy”. Being subversive lickle me – I can’t help it, really! – I started monkeying his speech, adding my own cheeky bent to it.
I started calling myself a ‘person of Brunetteness’, or sometimes ‘Differently Interested’. I started adding ‘As a woman,’ or ‘as a student’ or ‘as an eccentric’ as a qualifer…into almost every sentence, no matter how mundane. Granted, some might say that this was a lickle bit immature, and they’re not entirely wrong. It was, however, my reaction to what seemed to me more a trembling reaction to guilt and apprehension than a true eagerness to use progressive speech, and I guess that just irked me on some deep level.
I’d like to somehow have debate on political correctness in speech and its place in the post-ironic world, but many have offered much more well researched and considered essays – not to mention I’d likely only trip over my tongue. Did you read something that struck a chord with you?