Thursday, September 24, 2009


PC, not 'personal computer' rather, 'politically correct'.

Recently, in an interview someone asked Charlize Theron if she was an African-American now that she had American citizenship.

That got me thinking about the PC labels we awkwardly stick on people groups. I have a black friend who was born in the Caribbean, and raised in Britain. As far back as anyone in her family knows, they aren't from Africa. She thinks it is funny that on forms her ethnicity (she married an American) is often (wrongly) marked as African-American. She says she is Black and British.

I know a black writer who belongs to a black women writer's organization. It is a large organization. I don't know her well enough to have a discussion about it, but my first guess is she would be 'steamed' if I belonged to a white women writer's organization.

Last year a large group of illegal Mexican immigrants marched on the State Capital in Phoenix. They wanted their rights! They marched with a Mexico flag (only) in their parade. My thoughts on that is that people should immigrate legally.

One reason most countries have immigration laws is to screen for communicable disease. It is a simple duty to their citizens to safeguard their health. The other reason, of course, is to prevent violent criminals from entering the population; another safeguard. So there are my two reasons why people should immigrate legally.

But I have to say, to demand rights to citizenship and not carry this country's flag was a massive insult to their fellow countrymen who did immigrate legally. If they want to carry a Mexico flag, then they need to go to Mexico and demand rights there.

Besides, I'm a mom and it sets a poor example for my kids for me to be for any social reform for someone who has first admitted to be 'illegal' immigrants. To soft soap it in social work school, they said 'undocumented aliens'. I said, a rose by any other name... It didn't set well with some. They said I was racist. The fact is, I can't be pro anything illegal and preach to my children the importance of respecting the laws of this great country.

One last comment, my Pueblo friend says in general Indians don't mind being called 'Indians.' It isn't like Chris Columbus intended it to be anything other than the name of the people he encountered. He was just a wee bit LOST. She doesn't mind, Indigenous Peoples or Native Americans (which really covers both of the American contents, if you think about it), but to be correct, really correct, she is Acoma.

My Japanese-American friend lumps all white Americans in one batch. We probably look more alike than we actually share traditions and cultural behaviors.

Same thing is true with mentally handicapped people. When I started in social work, the label was Mentally Retarded. Technically, it is a really good term. It is clear. But people started using it as slang and other people decided to change the name rather than change the thinking of the ones using 'retard' for slang.

So it is DD right now, Developmentally Delayed. We screw up sometimes and use developmentally disabled, another old name in the evolution of terms. There was a new one last year, cognitive delayed, but it never caught on, so we are back to DD. The real question is not the label, it is why we need to call a group by their medical diagnosis in the first place.

Well anyway, I just thought this might begin a discussion.


  1. I get annoyed with the Brit expats here in Cyprus,(I am one by the way). They want to change everything, so I am often heard asking, why they left the UK in the first place. I am an alien, I have an alien book to prove it! Next year we claim our residency in Cyprus, so I wonder if I will become a CYBRIT or a Britiot ;o
    I hate this group calling nonsense, Mentally Handicapped in the UK changed to Learning Disabled. I have a black friend, who is part Cypriot and part Brit, she laughingly calls herself Black with white trimmings, I love her for that. Interesting post Nadine.

  2. If they are developmentally delayed, it makes it sound like one day they may catch up - but they can't. PC is difficult. Especially as whatever term is used will be transformed into an insult eventually.

  3. I agree with so much you say.
    Here in France a group call themselves Brits as if they are proud of it. I am ashamed of them. All they want is bacon and pork pies and complain when they can't get Brit food and beer. I don't use foul language, but I like to say, 'Well fk beck to Britland then!'

  4. This is a wonderful post, thank you for sharing your thoughts! It is somehow human nature to label things, to recognize differences as a survival technique. Unfortunately, labeling comes with judgement. Labels come with assumptions. Labels are associated with characteristics or cultural practices or beliefs. We almost never use labels to uplift someone else; they are almost always used in a negative way.

    I agree that identifying someone first by a characteristic (like medical diagnoses) denies their humanity. If we are to treat everyone equally, we first need to acknowledge them as a person. If their characteristics are relevant, we can identify them as people with disabilities rather than disabled person, or person with African/Cyprian/British origins rather than black or white person.

    What I wonderful discussion! I look forward to reading more.

  5. As far as the ethnic card goes, it is almost impossible to call any business or gov agency and not have the option of hearing the phone menu in Spanish. Arizona was part of Spain's Mexico. But it isn't now and hasn't been for 100 years. If we're going to be technical, we should all speak Navajo.

    I would never move to a non-English speaking country and expect to have things in English. Although I think it is good to carry on family traditions within the home.

    We're all learning challenged in one way or another. I'll never reach Albert Einstein's level, but then again, he 'took' many of his ideas from his wife's work, so he wasn't the top dog either.

    In social work, there is a theory that goes: The oppressed, when liberated, become the oppressors. Eleanor Roosevelt said something to the effect of, We have the world we agree to have.

    The question is, where does one draw the line between, "That is not acceptable behavior - I will no longer tolerate it" and another's freedom to be a thoughtless jerk?

    I have to admit, I thought twice about this post because I do not want to offend.

  6. There should be emphasis on E-Verify being adopted by every business in America, mandatory or not? Now that it’s locked into the US workers psyche, it should be evident to the pro-illegal immigrant groups that--THE PEOPLE--are not letting go of this computer illegal immigrant enforcement application without a fight. It has been ridiculed and ostracized by the US Chamber of Commerce and subjected to federal lawsuits by the anti-sovereignty groups as the ACLU. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but when the Council of Foreign Relation intolerable globalist and internationalists get involved with America’s immigration face-off, you really wonder what their true agenda is? GOOGLE-- across the Internet and understand their plan for the free flow of low income labor in every available industry including Agricultural jobs.

    This quasi agency was the machine involved with the inception of NAFTA. Coincidentally, I recall that President Obama and his administration addressed the general public that he would renegotiate the treaties of NAFTA and CAFTA? So far this has not materialized, nor has his promise to implement an open transparent government? He is following the same illusory lines as the Bush presidency, other than National security--remaining secretive?

    E-Verify is a very powerful immigration tool that is a composite of the SAVE ACT. Around the country it's building in momentum as more and more companies are intending to use it? It could additionally have multiple future uses, including detecting illegal aliens applying for driver’s licenses. It could also be adapted to apprehend any foreign nationals who apply in any health care reform or any other government benefit. By overturning the 1986 Immigration legislation and enacting a new AMNESTY the American population lose culturally and financially. Another possibility is checking the status of individuals admitted to higher education or schools. Its availability is a free service on the web, by accessing both Homeland Security and the Social Security databases. On an ongoing basis it is seemingly the principle tool to detour anybody who is stealing jobs from the legal population.

    It almost succumbed to Democratic leadership, because both Sen Reid and Pelosi had an ulterior motive to kill E-Verify and other immigration enforcement weapons. Having massive illegal immigrant occupation in both Nevada and California and an escalating need to financially support the millions already thriving in all Border States. YOU CAN HELP AMERICAN WORKERS IN THIS JOBLESS SETTINGS AND HALT ANY NEW AMNESTY BY CONTACTING YOUR POLITICIANS AT 202-224-3121. NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIAL WATCH & CAPSWEB have many of the true answers for you to decide.

  7. B, you obviously know more about the politics of the situation than I do. Thanks for visiting my blog.