I love words; I was taught from a young age three invaluable lessons:
- Speak the King’s English with exactness.
- Correctly pronounce and enunciate your words.
- If you do not know what a word means, and misuse it, you are wrong and must correct your mistake immediately.
Growing up, these rules were inviolable. You could use any word you knew the definition of; but, you had better pronounce that word, enunciate, and be able to defend yourself when asked. Since 1990, I have become detested with two things the American Political Left has chosen to do that is atrocious and worthy of the vilest condemnation, racism, and the plasticization of words.
As a student of history, the American Political Left has, from the inception of political parties, been telling lies to hide political skullduggery and shenanigans, to obfuscate issues, and derail issues. The plasticization of words has shamed many a person, has cast doubts that have ruined elections, and been exercised tirelessly to tear America apart.
Consider a term oft used to describe the political left, “Social-Justice Warriors.” Long have I asked my political left-leaning colleagues what this term means, how it applies, and the veracity of the term as a description of societal action. Breaking down the term, we find three definitions taken from Dictionary.com:
Social: Adjective – relating to society and its organization; Noun – informal social gathering
Justice: Noun – just behavior or treatment; administration of law or authority
Warrior: Noun – an experienced soldier or fighter
Thus, to extrapolate meaning from the definitions, one would conclude a social justice warrior is “a person in society, looking for the social administration of law, who has experience fighting for the proper administration of law.” Yet, the definition from the dictionary for this term is 180-degrees different and is termed derogatory, “a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views.” Those rioting and looting in the streets got there because a social justice warrior enraged the community on an issue that is racist, one-sided, and emotionally driven. Lest it is forgotten, the term being applied to the people driven by emotion to launch protests that become mob violence is derogatory in nature, critically disrespectful of the person calling themselves a social justice warrior. But, the social justice warrior carries this title as if it were a compliment and a badge of the highest esteem.
Thus, language is plasticized to confuse, interfere, and claim moral superiority, while at the same time damaging the basic fiber of America, destroying small businesses, and ruining commerce. In reviewing the historical records of riots in America, the term social justice warrior appears to have cropped up as a neutral or possibly positive term in the 1990s, but by 2011 the term had gained its derogatory connotations with the rise of social media. Many victims of social justice warriors claim they have been “thought policed,” “word policed,” attacked for not being appropriately centered on progressive politics. The social justice warrior is often extremely biased, self-aggrandizing, sanctimonious, but first, last, and always puerilely unreasonable!
A recent attack by a social justice warrior regarded the inability of poor black people to have government-issued photo ID, and that without that photo ID, the poor black person would be disenfranchised in exercising voting rights. My response was that holding any person down by race was racist, and the social just warrior preceded to become unhinged. Let us be clear, anytime a person’s race is the sole reason that person, or group of people, cannot take part in something, is racism, and the person espousing that opinionated garbage is racist.
In fourth grade, shortly after the Christmas Break, Governor Anderson Elementary School, Belfast Maine. The teacher is Mrs. Ohlund, I am repeating fourth grade because I was accused of being socially unprepared for fifth grade. I express doubts about Martin Luther King and a negative opinion regarding “Black History Month.” Then I am falsely accused, for the first of many times, of being racist. I lost three recesses, had to write a paper by way of apology, and was forced to spend the rest of “Black History Month” not participating in the events planned and scheduled.
From that day to this, I have been attacked for not seeing race, not being sensitive to the race of others, and refusing to allow a person’s race to be an excuse for poor performance, bad language, and infantile public and private behavior. I remain unapologetic; I am not a racist! I hold myself to the highest standards publicly and privately as my first obligation to society. Without regard to race, color, creed, etc. I hold others to the same standards. I am willing to teach and remain willing to learn as my second obligation to society.
Senior Chief Cloud (DCCS) gave me a tongue lashing in the US Navy because I could not understand the verbal interlocution of a second-class petty officer. The second-class petty officer used “Ebonics,” while on duty as a form of speech, and I had no idea what he was saying. Off-duty, this same second-class petty officer spoke differently and I was able to understand him, just fine. I was accused of being racist, disrespectful, and obstinate for not understanding the intentional speech patterns of a higher-ranking person.
I quickly learned that if any other race of person employed “Ebonics” they were told to speak properly, but there was a pass for black people. When I pointed out this was racism, I was sent up on charges for being disrespectful to see the Commanding Officer. In the US Army, I was the only white person in my squad in S. Korea. I was never invited to squad parties, social get-togethers, or allowed into training. I asked why I was being excluded and was told it was because the squad leader did not understand white people. The command structure supported the exclusion, and I was left without support as a new soldier in the US Army.
When white people treat black people in a manner that segregates, separates, or allows lower standards based upon race, this is considered racism, and rightly so. Yet, when black people reflect the exact same behaviors, the socially progressive elements in America rush to defend this behavior, and it is still racism. The term racism sees no colors, understands no race, and cannot distinguish between people. The term racism has been plasticized and forced into seeing colors and races, but only when directed in one direction towards black people; and, this is wrong!
In S. Korea, I met some of the most amazing people, gifted, talented, intellectually brilliant. In S. Korea, I never felt I was a foreigner; the people accepted my small gestures to learn the language and were very kind. Yet, in South Chicago, South Detroit, Bakersfield, Palisades, and other traditionally black neighborhoods, I am a foreigner, and the people not only treated me like scum on their blocks but insisted I did not belong. How is it, I can feel more welcome in a foreign country, than on American soil, simply because of my race; this is racism! The same is true when I visited Bahrain, and the Rock of Gibraltar, highly integrated societies, where I was the foreigner but was never treated as a foreigner or an outsider. But, travel to Jersey City, Burlington, or Baychester and I was told to wear armor because I was going to be shot. As a point of interest, Bruce Willis has this same problem in the movie Die Hard 3, and Hollywood treated that overt racism as a movie plot; this is wrong!
In the name of racial equality, America has been taught since the early 1980s that words create problems, and some words cannot be used by “white people.” This behavior is inherently racist and spreads the problems of race, not improving racial relationships. During President Obama’s reign, America learned that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are racist. Fluffernutter sandwiches are racist. But, this is not so, they are sandwiches, food, and delicious. Yet, through plasticization and a social justice warrior, suddenly, a staple of millions of people is now “off-limits” and cannot be consumed. My local sandwich shop had to stop selling a peanut butter honey spread on bagels as a sandwich option because the owners feared being picketed.
It is time for Americans to stand together against the tyranny of plastic words. Terms see no race, color, creed, and can do nothing but form expressions in communicating ideas. People see colors, race, creeds, handicaps, and more, words do not. The plastic words employed by the political left need to be called out every single time a new term arises, and the following are some suggestions for reducing plastic words.
- Get to know words and their definitions. It is okay to look up new words and use them in daily vocabulary. It is okay to have a vocabulary to fall upon to describe, detail, and inform your communication.
- When in doubt, ask for clear definitions for terms. If this is the second or more instance, compare definitions from previous explanations, and every time the definitions do not match the intent, call that person out.
- Insist upon pronunciation and proper annunciation of words. The English language is beautiful when properly used, and the proper usage of language improves the world. Be the speaker that makes flowers bloom in another person’s mind through language.
- Swearing, cursing, and vile imprecations do nothing but degrade the speaker and lower the speaker’s intelligence. Insist that speakers improve their language usage before speaking as a sign of respect. I show my respect to you by guarding my tongue, you show your appreciation and respect to me by guarding your tongue, and communication advances both of us.
- Plastic words are a social disease and a tool of weak and untested minds. Remember, emotional outbursts are not tolerated by parents from children, and are even less tolerated by adults towards other adults. Teenagers should be able to get away with back-talking and emotional hyperbole, why do we allow these same outbursts from adults?
Improving communication is all about knowing and using language succinctly and precisely, and then supporting proper social behaviors through courage and tenacity. There is no reason the grocery store, the restaurant, and other social and community gatherings should be an atmosphere of foul deprecations, excuses for small minds to emotionally lose control, or for adults to imitate the worst childish behaviors. Standards promote freedom, and the US Republic is all about personal freedom through responsibility and accountability for one’s self.
© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.
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