Friday, August 31, 2012

More Code

Did you know the State Department has a Diversity Officer?  Wow.  I'm not sure why nor do I understand exactly what he does other than remind us we're all victims if we really want to be.  Of course we have to learn the code.

I've learned the 'code' MSNBC talking heads have been reporting on has it's origins in the government, not the political parties!  It would seem  that no matter what we say we are likely offending some one some where.  We already know we aren't to use the word squaw or call a sports team the Braves or Warriors because it's offensive to American Indians.  I had no idea how much farther it goes.

Some where between my growing up years and my present elderly state, slang has practically been outlawed.  Why?  Because those to whom we're speaking may misunderstand our intent.  The State Department tells us so.

On occasion I do wonder where a phrase originated.  Sometimes I actually look it up, find it interesting, or not, and tuck it away.  Such knowledge never made me quit using a phrase. Words and phrases can be obviously mean spirited and insulting but we can also be far too sensitive.

One of the more obscure of the codes was a shoe ultimately recalled by NIKE.  Guess which?  Black and Tan.  It's a mix of brews, right?  Pale ale and Guinness.  Nope.  It refers to a group of khaki uniformed thugs who committed atrocities against Irish citizens.  Who knew?  Who knew enough to raise a fuss sufficient to make NIKE recall a sneaker?  Those folks were really into code.  Sneaker.  Does that mean they were trying to 'sneak' a message out there?

Hold down the fort.  Another insinuation about our Native Americans.  Protecting the fort from attack by the vicious savages.  Who came up with that stereotype?  They're not my words! Of course not.  They're code.

Going Dutch, where each pays his own way, is code that the Dutch are cheap. Does it sit better if you say frugal?

Rule of thumb is code for spousal abuse for the thumb was the measure of the diameter of an appropriate switch with which a man could beat his wife.  If her bruises were no larger than the diameter of the switch the man could not be charged.

The biggest reach, however, is handicapped.  This is code for beggar coming from the time when people begged with cap in hand. Ironic, isn't it, how many beggars you see today that are by definition handicapped?

Is the State Department Diversity Officer paid to research these phrases and terms to determine their potential to offend?  Do people send them in?  I have no idea. I do know though that accusing a presidential candidate of inadvertently killing someone or suggesting they may have committed a felony are every bit as offensive.  Calling one another liars. Accusing every one who is against a policy a racist. Code. Code for incivility.

With that I think I'll head down to the pub and order me a Black and Tan.  In Dogwalk code that means quenching a thirst.  I don't yet have a code for finding some sanity in all of this.  I could use one.  It seems no one understands plain talk any more.  Maybe it's 'Clint Eastwood'!   

1 comment:

Tommy said...

Gee, call me stupid. All this time I thought a Black and Tan was beer that I can buy at the supermarket. How silly of me.

This is interesting, because the more time that goes on, the less we're going to be able to say. I mean whatever we tend to say does , most likely, in-fact offend "someone" in this world.

I think that these offended people need to get a real life, by seeing a good therapist and talking about their issues with mom..

I mean, isn't life just a little short for this stuff. Remember, in the end we all know where we're going. In that light, what we were offended by might not matter as much. :-)