Words Matter

“I don’t even know what I am supposed to call them in this politically correct world we live in”

Translation:

“It is too inconvenient for me to learn how to treat others with respect, so I won’t bother trying.”

 

When uttered by the power group (generally able bodied, heterosexual, wealthy, white males) the term politically correct is spoken about with at least a hint of ridicule.

Words matter. Words have power.

I continue to be interested in the conversation around the LGBT community and faith. I am learning a lot about the significance of words.

In Gene Robinson’s book, “God Believes in Love: Straight talk about Gay Marriage” he makes this point:

 

“But those white Americans who really cared about black people struggled to keep up, because it mattered to them what black Americans themselves wanted to be called. If you care about someone, nothing is more important than calling him by his preferred name. From Adam’s naming of the animals in Genesis, naming has been an important task.

Language and naming are important to the gay community too. As the budding civil rights movement for homosexuals progressed, the words used to name ourselves changed too. ‘Gay’ came to be the preferred term. Heterosexual people wondered what was wrong with ‘homosexual.’

For starters it is a medical term and feels like a diagnosis……”

 

When I first wrote the paragraph above I began to write that “I continue to be interested in the ‘homosexual issue.’ “ This is a fairly common way of saying it but as Robinson points out above homosexual is not the preferred term and the word issue implies a problem.

I am learning all the time.

 

A good friend of mine helps me to realize when I refer to women as girls. 

I am learning all the time.

 

Latino. Latina. Hispanic.

Black. African American. Person of Color.

Kids with Special Needs.

Gay. LGBT. Homosexual.

And the the list goes on

I have a lot to learn. Please join me in learning to love others better by the words we use.

Don’t become paralyzed, too scared to speak for fear of saying a hurtful term. Your posture of learning and caring about words is more important than getting the words right every time. 

 

Ask a person with special needs about inconvenience. Learning the most caring words is not an inconvenience, it is putting loving others well.

Words matter part 2 coming soon

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