Patricia S. Bowne pbowne at omnifest.uwm.edu
Fri Mar 8 09:24:45 EST 1996

I'm getting perturbed about the whole issue!

Isn't the purpose of language to communicate with
other people? The more specific and jargon-filled
our terminology for groups of people becomes, the
less communication takes place - except the kind
of communication in which one person infers another's
political stance from his/her choice of words.

Eventually, we may be completely unable to talk with
other groups of people at all. This is not what
we need! What we need is a forum in which issues can
be addressed without anybody picking on anybody 
else's choice of terms.

It's not just an issue of PC - I've seen departments
fail to design programs because they were arguing 
about the proposed name. I've seen faculty groups
spend time arguing about how to phrase membership
requirements for agroup, before deciding what the 
group would do.

I think the underlying idea that if you use the right

words, you will somehow change the underlying thinking
of the people who use them, is wrong. It only looks
like it works, because people who don't share your
assumptions will leave the conversation.

Pat Bowne

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