Thought this was an interesting piece about language and how the words we use may be inadvertently hurtful to others, specifically related to food.
I know I was taken aback when, at a visit to a local bakery, they had an “Irish Car Bomb” cupcake to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and I knew from a Native American friend about the use of the word “squaw” in referring to squaw bread. The others were new to me.
From the article,"…What’s in it for me? What do I get out of this? Well, what you get out of it depends on who you are,” Yin says. “If you’re a writer, are you answering to your readers? Are your readers going to look at your publication and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe they just used this word that is known to be universally offensive?’”
Yin, to be clear, isn’t in favor of banning words outright (after all, she does understand some of the resistance to changes in vocabulary: “I get it,” she says. “I don’t like being told what to do, either”). She would instead prefer that we think critically about language and its effects.
“I think it’s important to know the conversations out there about different words,” she says, “and the theories about why they’re offensive and how they might impact you as a person or your business or your readership. And if you choose to use a word that’s likely to be offensive, you do it by choice. And I hope you have a good reason for doing it.”
As to whether this entire discussion is what some might dismiss as being overly “politically correct,” Yin strikes a pragmatic tone.
“I don’t know what ‘politically correct’ means,” she says. “Politically correct according to whose politics? I think if you have two options and one option has the potential to hurt people, to limit people, to stereotype people, and the other option does not do that, I don’t see anything wrong with choosing the option that does less harm.”