We didn't sign up for a revolution. We just wanted to be nice.
More from this writer, please. She’s terrific.
Wow. Succinct and right to the point.
The Marxists thought they could gain control over production by seizing the factories, the “means of production.” They failed because the means of production is not a factory machine, but the mind.
The new statists are much more ambitious. They think they can gain control over reality by seizing control over language, the machinery used by the mind. They will also fail: the mind must use language—concepts—that actually connect to reality. Twist the meaning of language, and the mind is worse than useless.
Like the Marxists, these new thugs will leave nothing but ruin in their wake.
The flaw in this theory of language is that words are used to describe something. Shakespeare put it eloquently: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Conversely, trying to rename a practice or group of people won't change the underlying prejudice against what others perceive in that practice or group of people. I think of the number of times we've changed the label for developmentally disabled people in my lifetime: we've gone from retarded to mentally handicapped to mentally challenged. Each time, the term just becomes another cruel euphemism because there are so many who stigmatize the group we're describing. You've got to change the attitude, not the language.
Been following this for a while and while it's mostly playing out in the
Sex vs gender debate (covered today by Matt Talbi) but it, wokeness, is something most people hate but are terrified to speak up about. So the question is how will this play out, will society adjust or wil the good people rise up and rebel? Watching the US election tells me the latter.
A) Awesome piece Ms Champion.
b) We have a troll in our midst; stop feeding it.
Meaghie, thank you for this! You have quite the talent. I've been reading tonnes of articles about the impact of PC language but this is the most articulated and reasoned article I've read. I especially loved your point about the new definition of racism, ""No longer does that word refer to "bigotry based on race." Now, it can only refer to systemic oppression." This explains what is happening with Jewish people. They are facing renewed racism but now it's coming from the 'woke' left. They are generally more successful than your average person which, according to the left, means they do not experience racism. One University professor has talked of hearing students being dismissive of the holocaust because it was only 'white on white crime'. That just made me sick! If anyone wants to learn more, just read Bari Weiss.
Another very good article from Ms. Champion. I remember Richard Gwyn writing in "Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Canadian" about similar movements in academia, and how some of the very same advocates were shocked and dismayed when they ended up being targeted by the same angry attacks they helped launch.
And that was back in 1994.
Now, in more recent years, we have articles like this:
A lot of the goals these movements support are laudable, such as enabling minorities to live safer, healthier lives. But then there's the risk of some of these minorities themselves being ostracized from their own communities for not "toeing the line" that some activists use to determine whether someone is or isn't truly "part" of the group.
How well I remember, decades ago, a panelist on some CBC talk program insisting, 'oh, no, perish the thought, no one will ever use this to inhibit free expression, it's just sort of a way of being polite, of not giving offence. No one will ever try to use it to suppress debate.' Hilarious!
I enjoyed your article. I have my own opinions on some of the things you write towards the end, but the basic idea that English is being altered irretrievably in ways that are definitely not helpful has bothered me for a long time, and you put eloquent words to that. English is a great language for writers, but I don't agree with the way it's being used these days to shape how we think.
As a thought experiment, let's assume the concerns raised by Meaghie Champion are all realized to the worst that it's reasonable to fear. Beyond annoying some people, what harm befalls society if that happens?
What basis, I wonder, does Meaghie Champion rely on to imply that her current 'language' fairly represents reality? Perhaps the hack she decries is a correction.
Wow, really well said. Behaviour is always the culprit, not the person.
" I identify strongly as a writer, and I take this assault upon the tool with which I conduct my craft very personally." Now there's a nicely turned phrase right there.
I'll have to look up the Sapir Whorf theory but I believe it's true that language affects our thinking. People who speak more than one language can often see that clearly. Thank-you for a very good article.