Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Other Six-Letter N-Word

Some words are considered so offensive in today's society that just using such a word once is enough to brand a person instantly as a crude, ignorant bigot. Quite a few celebrities have wrecked their careers by using a certain six-letter N-word, which I won't mention here because someone probably would post an indignant comment telling me that I really didn't need to say it in order to make my point. And they would be right; we all know what that word is because there's such a strong social consensus about its extreme offensiveness.

Of course, there is good reason for our society's strong condemnation of that word. It reflects a very ugly worldview that brands certain people as genetically inferior and undesirable, denies our common humanity, and arbitrarily divides our species into a privileged caste enjoying all the advantages and a lesser caste that is excluded and stigmatized. It is a truly vile word, deserving of all the opprobrium heaped upon it.

There is another six-letter N-word that has a similar effect of dividing people into different groups, giving more advantages to some folks while stigmatizing others as defective and undesirable. This other word, however, is one that is commonly used in today's society. The ugly attitudes associated with it often go unchallenged. Millions of people are forced to struggle against prejudice and discrimination every day because of these attitudes.

Perhaps you've guessed what word I'm talking about—the word "normal."

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  • Excellent parallel! People claiming that they are unaware of the social consequences of describing what they see in regards to "normal" is really no exuse given the current environment that people are using such a word.

    By Blogger Ed, at 2:00 PM  

  • My sociology proffersor hated the word "normal". She used to ask students to define it if they used it in her class. It was kind of funny.
    Excellent post!

    By Blogger A Bishops wife, at 5:38 AM  

  • Yes excellnet!!

    By Blogger Casdok, at 5:35 AM  

  • grrr
    Post eaten
    Good point. the concept of "normal" is too narrow and excludes a lot of people.
    Me for example.

    By OpenID Chromesthesia, at 9:50 PM  

  • Hear, hear! Average is another dirty word, in my book.

    By Blogger Melanthios, at 2:53 PM  

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