According to a story in Thursday’s Times, a handbook has at last been published offering judges “advice in how to avoid giving offence”.
… Thank heavens. We live in better and more enlightened times. Overt racism and sexism are not tolerated anywhere, by anyone. Except in the White House, of course. So what the Judicial College is looking to stamp out now, as the noose tightens around those who would seek to upset their fellow humans with outrageous prejudice, are words like “Afro-Caribbean” (which I didn’t know was actively offensive but is a mouthful and I’d never say it anyway), “transsexual” (which I assumed was fine but should apparently be “trans person”), “ethnic minority” (which I truly thought was just a description of when one ethnic group is outnumbered by another), and “postman”, which is obviously downright bloody disgusting fascist language and must be stamped out now, or we will soon be in a situation like Germany in 1933, with postmen first being denied marriage licences and council flats, then being hounded into special “postie” ghettos, then “relocated in the East” and ultimately marched to their deaths in the gas chambers of Poland — all of which, the Equal Treatment Bench Book asserts, can be avoided by merely calling them “postal operatives” instead. So a big “phew” for that.
And speaking of gas chambers, they are also looking to stamp out the word “Jew” on account of its “potentially negative connotations”. So does that mean I am not one any more? I mean, it’s great that judges are being told not to chase me down the street throwing rashers of bacon at me, shouting “Jew! Jew! Jew!”, because frankly I have had enough of that, but if it’s at the expense of my using the only word I can think of to describe my racial identity then maybe I’m not such a big winner after all.
And “Jew” is my racial identity only, by the way. I do not practise. I am a “Jew” only in the way that a black person is black. Although with more counting money and less dancing. Is that racist? Yes. But only because I said “Jew”, according to the handbook. What I should have said was “Jewish person”. Because that is MASSIVELY different.
It’s like when Benedict Cumberbatch got hauled up (rightly) for saying “coloured actors” and we suddenly learnt that “person of colour” was a thing. So white columnists all started writing “person of colour” everywhere to show how liberal they were, until Twitter exploded with pissed-off black people, shouting, “I’m not a person of colour! I am a black woman!” And damn right. Because euphemism is the worst thing of all. It compels people to apologise linguistically for being who they are.
The political correctness movement did a wonderful thing from the mid-1980s onwards to change the language used about groups who had suffered years of bigotry. But changing the focus of language did not reduce the sum total of hate. You can’t do that.
Telling a blind person — as the handbook recommends — that she is “a person with sensory impairment” does not give her back her sight.
… In ten years on social media, nobody has ever called me a y**. Or even a Jewish person. But every time I write something that the millennials don’t like, they pour forth a stream of personal abuse centred around such new disentitlements as being “privileged”, “cis male”, “Oxbridge” and “public school”, all of them accidents of birth which my abusers believe should disqualify me from work in the media.
When I write something angry they ask, “U okay hon?” which, in case you didn’t know, is the modern way of suggesting that a person is experiencing mental health issues. It is exactly the same as calling someone with depression a “spastic in the head”. It’s just new words for an old thing. No less hate.
And when the swarms of millennials who will misread this piece for a defence of bigotry set about snarling “privileged, public school, cisgender male!” at me, they will do it — just like the tribal Labour supporter who yells “Tory scum!” with a venom that passes way beyond the realm of political dissent — with every ounce as much hatred as any black-shirted Mosleyite ever shouted “n***er!” or “p*ki!”
So I’m going to say to the judges: burn your stupid handbooks (although not in a Nazi way) and just show respect for your fellow humans. And if that leads to a Holocaust of the postmen, well . . . my bad.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
The language of equality misses out the despised new underclass: cis males
The Judges’ handbook on the language of equality misses out the despised new underclass: Oxbridge-educated, cis males. Thus writes Giles Coren in the Times of London: