Often, people like to complain they no longer know which words they are allowed to say anymore. They present these forbidden words as some great calamity, caused solely by over-the-top political correctness single-handedly destroying freedom of speech. As if the words are no longer appropriate for no reason, omitting the unfortunate and exclusionary history distilled into their syllables. Not saying certain words is depicted as some great affront, and as an impossible challenge.
Just this Tuesday (08/12/20), football players on both sides of a UEFA fixture between Paris St-Germain and Istanbul walked off in unison, demonstrating solidarity with assistant coach Pierre Webó, allegedly racially abused by a Fourth Official.
What exactly was said remains slightly uncertain, though Demba Ba was heard remonstrating:
“Why when you mention a black guy, you have to say this black guy”
I found it a genuinely heart-warming moment of solidarity, followed by an outpouring of support on social media. It’s a sign of the slogan ‘Say NO to racism’ taking effect.
Fourth Official Sebastian Coltescu is insisting no malignant intent, arguing he was simply misunderstood. Regardless, his career has been shattered. Facing a potential 10-game ban, he has announced his retirement from officiating, a job proudly listed in his twitter bio as extending from 1996. An account now suspended.
This incident might prove many people right. Seemingly, he only referred to Webó as ‘black’ as a factual identification. But there are other ways to describe a person without invoking race. It’s obviously stigmatised – don’t reduce people to the colour of their skin.
We’re an intelligent species. Suggesting no one is safe to say anything anymore is patently untrue, and it displays a basic lack of understanding. All words have different meanings and connotations and, subsequently, are only appropriate in different contexts. It’s actually not that difficult to remember which should be used.
Rarely do we mistakenly substitute incorrect words, or lapse into gibberish (well, most of us). Rarely do we resort to expletives, unless particularly incensed and, even then, we try to avoid them around children. Fundamentally, it’s really not that hard – there are plenty of ways to avoid upsetting people.
Ultimately, if you really find it impossible to avoid using offensive language, try not talking at all.
Thanks for reading!
I typically post longer reads, but I would appreciate any feedback with regards to length. I post regularly with short stories, travel blogs, and contemporary commentary, so stayed tuned!
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