The problem with politically correct language…

…is that insensitive people will just find something else to say that will mock the politically correct language. The whole Palin-Emmanuel-Limbaugh controversy highlights that Emmanuel was just using a word that used to refer to people with Down Syndrome, to which Palin took offence.

The problem is that the word does not really refer to people with Down Syndrome anymore but only used to. This means that there are other words that have emerged that are more politically correct, like “people with intellectual disabilities.” I read recently that now insensitive kids will chide each other with the term “PID”, which is an acronym for the above term. Once that becomes politically incorrect, another term will emerge that all will take advantage of.

And it won’t stop there. I remember when I was an insensitive kid and my friends and I would be playing pick-up basketball or sand volleyball and when someone would make an errant pass or miss a hit we would call him “Corky” after the character on the long since cancelled tv show “Life Goes On”.

This is not to excuse Emmanuel for calling the left-wing of his party “fucking retarded” and certainly not to excuse Rush Limbaugh for repeatedly, and on air, using the even more epithetical word “retard” to describe the same people. It’s just to say that Emmanuel, in particular, was being more insensitive than offensive (if you want to draw that line).

We all know that Palin is an opportunist just looking for situations where she can score political points, but she was right to criticise Emmanuel and should have been more forceful with Limbaugh. They need to know that it’s insensitive to use the word. However, to me, the bigger jerk in this story is Glenn Beck, who actually made fun of the intellectually disabled. He wasn’t merely using an outdated term to refer to someone who doesn’t have that disability, he was using an outdated term to make fun of the person that term used to describe.


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