Volume 92, Issue 35

Thursday, November 5, 1998

a little bit louder now


Deserved strong reaction

Re: Spell checked, Oct. 30

To the Editor:
Helen Luu raised the issue of political language in her letter defending the incorrect spelling of woman. Helen rightly states that our use of language can influence our views. I am completely aware of this fact. In my last letter to the Editor, The Gazette editing process switched my capitalization of "Blacks" and "Latinos" to lowercase.

To quote Alexa, "It is typical for people to 'not understand' what the problem is, because unfortunately few people understand oppression issues." She must not realize how damaging such antics are – or perhaps she does, but is more concerned with her personal vendetta.

Alexa claims to seek tolerance and understanding of women's issues. However, this is NOT brought about by further segregating one's group. There are effective ways to "challenge [another person's] safety zone with radical ideas."

You overcome people's prejudices by serving as a counter-example, NOT by playing into their stereotypes. People are more apt to change as a result of their own accord, but will resist change if unnecessarily threatened. If you want to positively change language, then refrain from making third-person references exclusively male (or female), don't use sexist slang and avoid sexist generalizations.

Yes, I was mocking Alexa, but it is SHE who is making a mockery of oppression issues. She undermines the legitimate struggle to have oppression issues heard and dealt with in a constructive and serious manner.

So you can see, Helen, I HAVE given much thought as to the politics of language, which is exactly why I reacted so strongly to Alexa's misspellings.

Warren Flood
Philosophy/Economics II

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Copyright The Gazette 1998