Sunday, September 15, 2002

Kathy Kinsley writes on terms that have lost their meaning.

Recently (in my lifetime), people calling themselves "multiculturalists" have hijacked the word. They are now using it to mean that each culture should stay to itself, have nothing to do with its neighbors and reject any trading with or merging with other cultures.

I'd actually like to see a single example of this, as I never have. Perhaps we read different things.

The term racism used to describe the idea that another race was inferior, and to be hated or despised. It applied to anyone who judged people only according to race. It seems, nowadays, to have degenerated to mean "you don't like me". Racism, in the original sense, does exist, and should be fought. But, if I think your culture sucks bigtime, it isn't racism.

Fair enough, but the problem comes in when people start linking people to a culture because of their skin color, other cleary identifiable racial/ethnic features, or known country of origin. This is still 'racism,' if a slightly broadened version of it.

Anyone who thinks certain things should be banned to any woman or man because of their sex is a sexist. So is anyone who thinks standards should be lowered to include one sex or the other. We should start calling a sexist a sexist.

It really isn't clear what examples of this one can come up with. Perhaps there are changes in physical requirements for training programs in certain professions - military, fireman, etc. In these instances one must distinguish between physical requirements that are genuine requirements for the job and physical requirements which are simply designed to be boot-camp style physical challenges for their own sake.