Re: Politically Correct TechDoc

Subject: Re: Politically Correct TechDoc
From: TRACY BOYINGTON <trlyboyi -at- GENESIS -dot- ODVTE -dot- STATE -dot- OK -dot- US>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 09:22:00 +0000

I think politically correct/gender neutral language is an important
topic, but I was kind of disappointed in this particular way of
presenting it. To me, "blind study" is just not controversial enough
to argue about. Of course, I'm not blind (not totally, anyway), so I
may be making an incorrect assumption, but it seems to me that "blind
study" doesn't have the negative connotations that "blind luck" and
"blind alley" might possibly have, since it pretty much describes the
process. I'd rather get on a soapbox and talk about *my* pet
peeves... such as nursing textbooks that refer to all nurses as "she" and all
doctors as "he." (grrrrr...)

> Did anybody see the ethics situation posed in the current issue of the STC
> Intercom? In it, an eager young writer is trying to get a group of stodgy
> scientists to accept her preferences for politically correct language, such
> as "gender neutral" pronouns to replace the indeterminate "he." Some give
> in, others don't. One sympathetic scientist, an asian Indian, seems like a
> prime target for her next move, so the writer presents her with the next
> linguistic victim: blind study. In the writer's experience, blind people are
> insulted in varying degrees by terms such as "blind luck" and "blind alley,"
> usually terms reserved for slightly negative connotations. The scientist,
> while she listens attentively, proposes that this is a bit too far out on
> the limb for her to go. She points out that she, herself, is the unwilling
> recipient of similar terms, being a Hindu and an Indian, but that she takes
> no offense and that perhaps the offended blind individuals should become
> more at peace with themselves, rather than depriving the sciences of a
> descriptive and useful term.

Tracy Boyington
Technical Communication Specialist
Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, Oklahoma

November 11, 1995: OSU 12, OU 0

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