When I woke up this morning, had I become a snowflake? There were some tiny white bits of frozen water falling from the sky, but of course, that is not what we mean anymore by woke or snowflake.
This misappropriation of American English came to mind after my wife’s dental visit yesterday. The hygienist said she saw a small crack in one of Mrs. Conaway’s teeth. When my wife mentioned it to the dentist, she was quickly corrected. “We don’t like to use that term,” she said. “We prefer to call it a craze.”
Manipulating the language to save face is nothing new. It is alarming, though, the rapid rate at which words are being “re-assigned” so that various groups can appropriate their meaning.
When I was a kid, we were told that the polite way to refer to people with dark skin was “colored people.” Not long after that, we were told, no, they want to be referred to as black. And then came along African American. I distinctly remember a television reporter in the 1980s based in London referring to a dark skinned person there as a “British African American.”
Now we are told that we should use the term “people of color.” So we’ve basically gone around the naming wheel. What none of this terminology has done is heal the racial divide. It is my opinion that when we can start referring to people simply as people, we will have got past these divisions. But not as long as it benefits some self-serving group or other to use their special and divisive designations.
Visit any major city and you will find a park, vacant lot, or a section of sidewalks populated by people who have nowhere else to go. Up to now, we have called them homeless. But the snowflakes falling from liberal colleges have set us straight. These overlooked human beings are to be called “unhoused.”
Boy, if that doesn’t make a big difference. I bet a whole host of the unhoused found the concrete they sleep on to be that much softer after their status gained a new name. There is actual good news on this front, in that many city governments, sometimes supported by the state, are taking action to bring those unhoused homeless people to facilities where they can be medically and mentally evaluated and made eligible for treatment.
Some mornings it is hard to wake up knowing that I won’t be truly woke. I will not throw all my energy into making our entire society bend to a handful of people with gender questions, or protest a university for allowing someone to speak freely. I will probably both hold and express opinions that other people won’t like. And, mainly, I will speak the language as I have taken pains to properly learn it.