"Political CorrectnessMy..." United States of America Local Custom Tip by DesertRat

United States of America Local Customs: 260 reviews and 260 photos

<b>Political Correctness</b>

My hackles rise when I think of writing about this, but it's something that visitors need to know about.

We have developed a whole new vocabulary in order not to offend the less advantaged people in the country. To wit:

Minorities such as blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are all known as <i>'people of color.'</i> Never use <i>colored people</i> or <i>Negro</i>, which was once the accepted term. These are just barely less offensive than the unspeakable <i>N-word</i>. American Indians are <i>Native Americans</i>.

<b>The Handicapped</b>

There's a whole slew of different terms used here. <i>Handicapped</i> is sometimes replaced by <i>'differently abled'</i>; <i>mentally retarded</i> is now almost racist sounding, and has been replaced by <i>mentally-challenged</i>. These are just a few of them.


Being the egalitarian society that we are, we avoid them where possible. The worst offenders in many people's eyes are <i>Miss</i> and <i>Mrs.</i> I would never, ever use either one in a letter if I didn't know it was the personal choice of the woman to whom I was writing. The accepted title is now <i>Ms.</i>, which is pronounced <i>mizz</i>. This is one of the reasons, I suspect, that the first name has become so popular: it avoids the issue of being offensive. Being over-familiar is much preferable to being offensive, it seems.

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  • Written Aug 24, 2002
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