P.C. Language Saved My Life

If I’d had access to the right language, it’s possible that I might have felt empowered by this change. Instead, people on campus began referring to me as “it” or “he-she.” Eventually I folded into myself. I cut my hair off, wore drastically less makeup and took to wearing all black clothing, because I was constantly mourning the identities I might have had, that the world had slowly killed. I became increasingly depressed and even attempted to end my life.

Trump Administration’s CDC Bans Certain Words

Below are a couple of articles regarding the recent news.

Words banned at multiple HHS agencies include ‘diversity’ and ‘vulnerable’

The Trump administration has informed multiple divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services that they should avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year’s budget.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is part of HHS, were given a list of seven prohibited words or phrases during a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget. The words to avoid: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/words-banned-at-multiple-hhs-agencies-include-diversity-and-vulnerable/2017/12/16/9fa09250-e29d-11e7-8679-a9728984779c_story.html?utm_term=.46e926e6bb7e

Why Words Matter: What Cognitive Science Says about Prohibiting Certain Terms

How much does it really matter if a government agency avoids certain language in documents sent to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies?

Perhaps a great deal. Scientific American spoke with Lera Boroditsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, about the significance of this recent news, why words matter and how language changes our perceptions of the world.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-words-matter-what-cognitive-science-says-about-prohibiting-certain-terms/

Thousands Once Spoke His Language in the Amazon. Now, He’s the Only One.

“Amadeo said it haltingly, in broken Spanish, the only way he would be able to communicate with the world from that moment on. No one else spoke his language anymore. The survival of his culture had suddenly come down to a sole, complicated man.”

“The waters of the Peruvian Amazon were once a vast linguistic repository, a place where every turn of the river could yield another dialect, often completely unintelligible to people living just a few miles away. But in the last century, at least 37 languages have disappeared in Peru alone, lost in the steady clash and churn of national expansion, migration, urbanization and the pursuit of natural resources. Forty-seven languages remain here in Peru, scholars estimate, and nearly half are at risk of disappearing.”

The First Woman to Translate the ‘Odyssey’ Into English: The classicist Emily Wilson has given Homer’s epic a radically contemporary voice.

“If you’re going to admit that stories matter,” Wilson told me, “then it matters how we tell them, and that exists on the level of microscopic word choice, as well as on the level of which story are you going to pick to start off with, and then, what exactly is that story? The whole question of ‘What is that story?’ is going to depend on the language, the words that you use.”