PC to wokeness… What’s next?

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

In the early 1990’s I co-authored a book titled: The Politically Incorrect Jokebook written by 4 white males. The book was filled with a variety of humorous sections that made fun of political correctness because, in those days, PC was considered so ridiculous that it was the subject of satire and parody. Calling a short person “vertically challenged,” or a garbage truck a “technical disposal waste vehicle” (to make it sound prettier) was tolerated and scoffed at, but it was harmless fun. In the book, I referred to black and white people as melanin positive and melanin negative, and we referred to bald people as “hairing impaired.” Who knew, at that time, that this ridiculous use of semantics would evolve into woke terminology and a dictionary that made victimization a desirable quality among today’s so-called progressives? Who knew that wokeness would become PC on steroids, and contribute to a delusional culture that can’t even define what a woman is or know which bathrooms to use. Perhaps, at that time, we should have taken the attack on language more seriously.

What initially seemed to be an innocent appeal to developing a vocabulary that was not insulting or offensive soon gave rise to words and phrases that actually offend a reasonable person’s sensibilities. As time passed, those who admired and advocated this form of what George Orwell termed “newspeak” became more belligerent and demanding. Despite a few critics who challenged PC as censorship, too many people ignored it and, as time passed, it made its way into the minds of professors who embraced it the way a drowning man embraces a life preserver. These professors were like the carriers of a terrible disease and the innocent students who attended their classes didn’t realize it, but they took out massive loans to pay for what amounted to be brainwashing. 

In today’s America, the “harmless” rewording of popular words and phrases became harmful and people lost jobs because of this tyranny of vocabulary, which includes new words being invented on a daily basis, and of course, the insistence of some who believe people can take ownership of parts of speech and possess their own pronouns. Some people have defended this practice by saying, “It’s disrespectful not to use preferred pronouns, and who does it hurt to use a pronoun a person chooses?” This has led to the creation of insane lists of pronouns. The website called Pronouny has pages of new pronouns that include the following: hy, hym, hys, hymself, pi, pika, pikas, piself as well as numerous other pronoun choices. I teach English as a second language and it’s hard enough to get new English speakers to understand the difference between the different pronoun cases (subjective, objective, reflexive etc.) but now am I supposed to teach them that there are hundreds of other nonsense words that they need to learn to satisfy the whims of individuals who get bent out of shape if you don’t refer to them as they demand?  

The level of intolerance displayed by individuals who have been “misgendered” (woke terminology 101) has seeped its way into almost all corporations, college campuses and all aspects of American life. Cancellation has become a tool of these fascists and the same respect they demand, they deny to anyone who refuses to bend to their agenda. Publishers of dictionaries have succumbed to woke language and now publish dictionaries that cater to rhetorical terrorism, and fear of being labeled as racist, transphobic or some other derogatory label sends shivers through spineless corporate executives who lack the courage to say, “Go ahead, I dare you to cancel me.”  

The attack and intolerant change of language have led to just about every business creating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) departments to pacify woke leftists, and like all PC terminology which, on the surface, appear to have noble intentions these once noble words have been bastardized to promote segregation, inequality and exclusion.  

The merging of social “justice” groups, with “marginalized” group affiliation (advanced woke terminology 102) created the victim culture, which is a culture that is hell-bent on revenge for what they perceive as past injustices, and the manipulation of language was the first salvo in this battle. It permeates our institutions of higher learning, which have created speech codes to punish and condition students and the few remaining conservative educators to use the language that they dictate, and this is a direct assault on free speech.  

PC and woke language has taken so many words that were commonly used prior to this linguistic cancer, and changed the word multiple times, and even the PC versions some words were revised over and over. For example, use of the word “handicapped” became insulting and in the early PC movement became “differently-abled,” but that wasn’t good enough, so the current kinder gentler phrase to use is “person with disabilities.”  

Woke word choices also led us into the wonderful world of micro-aggressions, which are phrases that people with very small minds find egregious. Actually micro-aggressions are defined by those on the left as small, inconspicuous comments that reinforce oppressive biases. Some offensive micro-aggressions include: “Where are you from?” (This is said to be offensive because it “invalidates the experiences and personal identity of the person being asked”) “You just need a positive mental attitude.” (This is considered a micro-aggression because it is said to minimalize a person’s pain and what that person is experiencing is not a real condition).  

Despite the fact that there are dozens of micro-aggressions, the purveyors of victimization decided that there needed to be different levels of micro-aggression offense, so they created subcategories. These subcategories now include: micro-assaults (the most obvious form and includes making fun of someone, shouting or imitating) micro-insults (more subtle, but makes a person feel uncomfortable an example would be calling someone baby or honey) micro-invalidation (excluding someone or a group, an example of this would be responding to Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter).

As time marches on, I’m sure there will be further escalations of woke language, and sadly there is no vaccine for this plague on words and phrases. The only way to purge it is to just say no to it, refuse to succumb to the threat of cancellation and decline to support any business or entity that has given in to this insanity. It is one thing to try not to offend others, but when someone is an emotional hemophiliac and believes they have suffered an injustice by being asked where they are from, the problem lies in their delicate psyche and perhaps it would do some good for them to have a reality check, which may educate that person that they (not zey) and their sensitive baby feelings are not the center of the universe.


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