Something hit me tonight. Not hard, but more like a nudge. I wonder about my sensitivity to terminology. I wrote this yet-to-be-published-and-I'm-not-sure-why post last week about usage of the r word and how I react differently to its usage now than I did even six months ago.
I still don't think it's ok, but it doesn't hit me in the same way as it did before. To clarify, still don't like, but won't cry over it. I totally have cried over it in the past.
So, seemingly non-related, over the weekend, I watched a movie. It was released in 1934. Imitation of Life. If you've seen it, you know how big a role race plays in the film.
I've loved Imitation of Life for years and years, but not this version. I always watched the one from 1959. But, since BD opted in on a Netflix trial recently, I thought I'd finally give the original a try.
Lemme tell you something: HUGE DIFFERENCE.
I was like "whoa" and cringed quite a few times at the portrayals and the verbiage used in the 1934 version. I'm not naive. I know that was a very different time, but still. Whoa. I found it hard to watch.
At one point, two girls are playing and one begins to cry because the other called her "black." Except, to me, today, she was black. Then, that was an insult. The mother of the little girl who said it told her to apologize immediately for saying such a cruel thing to her friend.
What does this have to do with the r word? Well, nothing really, but it's the terminology that struck me.
Tonight, while in the car, I was listening to Dr. Berman's show for a minute. I came in just as a lady who had called in for some advice was talking about her daughter. Apparently, she wanted Dr. Berman's help with her dating methods. She felt like she was, in her words, "a very good catch" but she had concerns related to her "special needs daughter." She actually said, "She's special needs. She's Down syndrome."
I cringed. Just like I did while watching the movie.
I mean, there's nothing inherently wrong or evil about what the caller said. It's just not what folks in my generation typically say when describing their child. These days, people I know are all about People First Language. I would never (ever ever ever ever ever) say that Playette is Down syndrome. Ever.
I don't really know my point about all of this. I don't have a conclusion, really. I just felt like sharing.
I don't know how not to cringe and I'm not sure if that will ever change.
But maybe it will.
There are just no absolutes. That I do know.