The politically correct term “firefighter” is used instead of “fireman.”
(Definition of politically correct from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
, Early-to-mid 20th century
In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase “politically correct” was associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between Communist Party members and Socialists. This usage referred to the Communist party line, which provided for “correct” positions on many political matters. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s,
The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.
— ”Uncommon Differences”, The Lion and the Unicorn Journal, In March 1968, the French philosopher Michel Foucault is quoted as saying: “a political thought can be politically correct (‘politiquement correcte’) only if it is scientifically painstaking”, referring to leftist intellectuals attempting to make Marxism scientifically rigorous rather than relying on orthodoxy.
The United States isn’t the only (western) country having a political correctness war on words. While searching for the images you see here, I came across an article @ language monitor website that focused on the words the Australian parliament has banned its citizens from speaking. At the end of this article is a list of words and the reasons for the ban. I had to tell myself this was real when I heard someone laughing and found out it was me.
The title of the article is what got my attention.
Australia bans the word ‘MATE‘
San Diego, Calif. August 24, 2005. Last week, the Department of Parliamentary Services in Canberra, issued a general warning to its security staff banning the use of the word ‘mate’ in any dealings they might have with both members of the Parliament and the public. Almost immediately, Australian Prime Minister John Howard called the ban “absurd” while the Opposition labeled it “un-Australian”. The ban has since been rescinded.
In direct response, the Global Language Monitor polled its readers (and enquired of itsLanguage Police) to come up with further suggestions of slang words and informal language that might serve the public interest by being banned in Australia. Earlier today, as a service to the international linguistic ‘mateship’ or community, GLM released its List., “We believe that if the Department of Parliamentary Services had a list of “Further Slang terms and Colloquialisms fit to be Avoided, Shunned, or Otherwise Banned,” these are the words that would populate such a List,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and the WordMan for the Global Language Monitor. “To make the List, words had to be innocuous in themselves, but in the context of Political Correctness, potentially offensive to some segment of the populace”.
Recently, the BBC’s use of the term ‘misguided criminals’ and ‘bombers’ when referring to the perpetrators of the recent London blasts stirred an international debate on politically correct language. The BBC used those words to replace the term ‘terrorist’, which according to the BBC can.
G’day — G’day is the shortened form of ‘Good Day’. Some etymologists believe that good can be ultimately traced to an earlier word for God. Hence, G’day could represent a conspiracy to insinuate the theistic world view into everyday life.
Mate — From classmates at male boarding schools. Obviously sexist, also elitist.
Nappy — Diaper, might offend those who illegally download music to their hard drives, and narcoleptics.
No Worries — This is offensive to those with OCD, and others who are plagued by constant self-doubt and apprehension.
Plonk — Inexpensive wine (in the US it’s called ripple). Plonk is perhaps a contraction of vin blanc; this might offend francophones.
Ta — Thank you. In the spirit International Harmony, the French s’il vous plait is preferred.
Vegemite — A plot to foist upon a defenseless world, the supposed utopian ideal of what a meatless sandwich might be.
Zed — The letter Z. Not exactly slang, but a candidate for banishment nonetheless on general principles.
Nought — the number ‘zero’. If this caught on, the English-speaking world might finally have a name for the first decade of the 21st century: the Noughties.