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Old 02-29-2020, 08:44 AM   #1
hazel
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Political correctness gone mad


I belong to a trade union with the rather silly name of Prospect. It used to have the entirely sensible and descriptive name "Institution of Professional Civil Servants" (IPCS). Then, when privatisation meant that a lot of us weren't civil servants any more, it became the Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists (IPMS). Why they now call it "Prospect", I have no idea, but it's the type of change that has affected many other trade unions in the UK.

I receive a monthly broadsheet from them by email. In this month's issue, there was an article suggesting that we all show our solidarity with the LGBT+ community by putting our "preferred pronoun" in our email signature. The idea is that, as trans and "non-binary" people need to do this, they will feel less embarrassed if everyone else does it too.

I have nothing against trans people. I have seen quite a few on television that seem to be exactly what they say they are and you would never guess that they were ever anything different. But for the rest of us to have to state our gender explicitly just to make this tiny minority feel at home strikes me as totally ridiculous.

As to people who want to call themselves "they", I can only assume that they are very poorly educated and never learned at school that "they" is a plural pronoun and cannot be applied to an individual.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 08:52 AM   #2
petelq
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Be careful, Hazel. The thought police could be after you!

edit: Probably me too now, unless they think I'm serious.

Last edited by petelq; 02-29-2020 at 08:54 AM.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 08:59 AM   #3
cwizardone
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Hazel,

Hear, hear!

This tail wagging the dog nonsense has been going on for far, far too long.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 09:18 AM   #4
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
As to people who want to call themselves "they", I can only assume that they are very poorly educated and never learned at school that "they" is a plural pronoun and cannot be applied to an individual.
That's just a new-fangled (18th century) rule. If it was accepted before, why not again?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they
Quote:
The singular they emerged by the 14th century,[3] about a century after plural they. It has been commonly employed in everyday English ever since then, and has gained currency in official contexts. Singular they has been criticised since the mid-18th century by prescriptive commentators who consider it an error.[4][5][6] Its continued use in modern standard English has become more common and formally accepted with the change toward gender-neutral language,[5][7] though many style guides continue to describe it as colloquial and less appropriate in formal writing.[8][9]
 
Old 02-29-2020, 09:34 AM   #5
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
As to people who want to call themselves "they", I can only assume that they are very poorly educated and never learned at school that "they" is a plural pronoun and cannot be applied to an individual.
Either language is a dynamic thing that changes to suit the needs of its users, which clearly makes that viewpoint completely wrong.

Or it's a static thing that doesn't change, which also makes that viewpoint completely wrong. Because the words "they" and "you" have both been in use as singular and plural for many centuries before imbeciles decided to claim them as plurals only.

Some of us have been using "they" when gender isn't relevant* long before people started asking for particular pronouns, and will continue to do so.
* (which is the vast majority of situations)

 
Old 02-29-2020, 09:36 AM   #6
enorbet
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... Plus "they" applies to... ummm... those "special" enough to have bipolar disorder and multiple personalities

Hey what are you writing?

You! Go back inside and leave me alone! Miscreant!

Hey what about me?

You're just a they along for the ride... and yank out those earrings and act like a Real Man! A little blood-letting will do ya some good. Embarrassing! Sheesh! Stiff upper lip, eh what?
 
Old 02-29-2020, 11:16 AM   #7
DavidMcCann
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The OED notes that "they" as a singular is "considered erroneous by some" but also that it has been in use since Late Middle English. It is incidentally, recommended by Oxford University Press. But, of course, this is in sentences like "Everyone needs to feel that they are respected" — not "Have you asked X if they are coming?" unless you actually don't know what X is.

I cannot resist the temptation to say this is what you are exposed to when you're a Trade Unionist!
 
Old 02-29-2020, 11:31 AM   #8
hazel
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It's new to me. I never had any of this sort of aggro when I was a working trade unionist.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 01:01 PM   #9
scasey
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Hmmm. I was taught to use "they" when the subject's gender was unknown to me, and I do that here. "s/he" or "he/she" works, but I find it cumbersome?

But to hazel's original point: I question that LGBTQ+ people "need" to specify their (there I go again!) preferred pronoun, or that they are embarrassed by [having to] do so.
I agree that even requesting that others do so is pretty much the epitome of political (in)correctness.

<sigh>
 
Old 02-29-2020, 01:14 PM   #10
redneonglow
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What bugs me about this is not so much the political correctness over pronouns, but the fact that you are being forced by the union to promote a political cause unrelated to labor. That shouldn't be legal. Here in the US, if a union did something like that, there would be lawsuits from Catholic and evangelical members of the union.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 01:25 PM   #11
scasey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redneonglow View Post
What bugs me about this is not so much the political correctness over pronouns, but the fact that you are being forced by the union to promote a political cause unrelated to labor. That shouldn't be legal. Here in the US, if a union did something like that, there would be lawsuits from Catholic and evangelical members of the union.
Interesting. I didn't see "forced" anywhere in the OP. What I saw was "suggested." Nothing illegal about suggestions.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 04:15 PM   #12
fido_dogstoyevsky
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Is "One" an option? If it isn't there insist on it, because one never knows when one may prefer it as a pronoun.

Or ask them if they're collecting statistics on the sly...
 
Old 02-29-2020, 07:30 PM   #13
redneonglow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scasey View Post
Interesting. I didn't see "forced" anywhere in the OP. What I saw was "suggested." Nothing illegal about suggestions.
Sorry, my mistake.
 
Old 02-29-2020, 07:42 PM   #14
frankbell
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For some reason, this seems analogous to me.

P. G. Wodehouse once wrote a book about a man named "Psmith," pronounced "Smith."

Mr Psmith's position was that, as it was his own darn name, he could spell and pronounce it any way he wished.

Just a stray thought.
 
Old 03-01-2020, 10:40 PM   #15
VeraP
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It's very cruel to discriminate human based on gender and force them to show it. In some conditions, it's crucial to prove the gender..but it cannot be applied to every situation.
 
  


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