New Definitions For New Correctness

“Notable & Quotable: Equity and Inclusion.” The Wall Street Journal, 7/22/2015.

Like me, you are probably falling behind in the new politically correct terminology. This list should help you keep up—a glossary from the Spring, 2015 issue of Andover Magazine, published for the students of the Phillips Academy prep school in Andover, Mass. (I had to add several of the terms to my spell checker. What follows is the definitions as they appeared in the Andover Magazine. They are dead serious about all of this.)

Ableism: The system of oppression based on ability. Assumes people with disabilities as flawed, insufficient, and inferior. Includes assumptions about what is “normal” and results in the marginalization of people with disabilities.

Heteronormative: Denoting or relating to a worldview that naturalizes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.

Intersectionality: The idea that classifications such as gender, race, and class—and others—cannot be examined in isolation from one another; they interact and intersect in individuals’ lives and in social systems and are mutually constitutive.

Gender: A noun that can be usefully divided into two separate concepts. First, gender identity describes a person’s own internal—and often deeply held—sense of their gender. Many people have a gender identity of “man” or “woman” (or “boy” or “girl”), but for many others their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two categories. Second, gender expression describes external manifestations of gender, including behavior, name, preferred pronouns, clothing, hairstyle, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine and feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Gender expression should not be viewed as an indication of sexual orientation.

LGBTQIA+: An acronym that strives to include all non-(hetero)normative sexual and/or gender identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, agender, and more.   [The “+” covers anything missed or newly defined in the future.]

Microaggressions: Subtle words, cues, and/or behaviors that insult, invalidate, or exclude traditionally marginalized group members. The long-term effect of microaggressions can have a significant negative impact on one’s health.

Privilege: Systematic favoring, enriching, valuing, validating, and including of certain social identities over others. Individuals cannot “opt out” of systems of privilege; these systems are inherent to the society in which we live.

Unconscious/Implicit Bias: A positive or negative mental attitude, held at an unconscious level, toward a person, thing, or group.

Phew! I can’t wait to throw these terms at those politically sensitive people who need a put-down, especially the all-inclusive “LGBTQIA+.” Love the “plus.”  Nice touch.  Thank you, Andover Magazine!


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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