The “Jennerization” of Language: Say Goodbye to He and She

The “Jennerization” of Language: Say Goodbye to He and SheThe “Jennerization” of America continues apace. The major battlegrounds now are the country’s schools. This time language itself has become the target.

As published in the Daily Mail, students and staff at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville received a memo advising them to avoid referring to anyone’s gender. The announcement came complete with a chart indicating new parts of speech.

Donna Braquet, head of the university’s Pride Center, wrote the new guidelines. Along with this latest mandate, she also advises staff not to call roll in class. The alternative is now to greet every student and ask the desired name and pronoun of preference. Braquet is quoted as saying the campus will become “more inclusive” if everyone follows her instructions.

This latest move comes a short time after the University of Vermont officially recognized “neutral” as a third gender. According to The New York Times, all official campus forms and correspondence have been updated to comply with the new policy. The university has gone so far as to allow students to choose their own identity, including a new first name whether or not actually legally changed.

But universities are not the only places where everyday speech has become the target. To cite one example of many, NebraskaWatchdog.org reported last fall new regulations for teachers and staff of Lincoln Public Schools. Under the new rules, phrases such as “boys and girls,” “ladies and gentlemen,” and “you guys” should be avoided. In place of these, addressing students as readers, campers, athletes or purple penguins would better lead to a classroom which is more “gender-inclusive.” The bizarre mandate came with the cheery title “12 Easy Steps on the Way to Gender Inclusiveness.”

Subversion of Speech
It would be very easy to argue that this is simply making a mountain out of a molehill. New guidelines such as these will be mocked, and very few people will follow them. After all, what does it matter whether we refer to someone as he, she, they, xe, xyr, zir or it? Why should a teacher care if they are forced to switch “boys and girls” with purple penguins?

As a proper response, we need look no further than the testimony of those promoting this radical agenda. Recently officials in Washington state rewrote 40,000 state laws to include gender-neutral terminology. Activists were effusive in their praise for the effort. “Words matter,” said Liz Watson, a National Women’s Law Center senior adviser. “This is important in changing hearts and minds.”

The concept of changing the language in order to change the culture is nothing new. Nearly a century ago, Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci famously wrote: “When one controls the way in which language is used, it can serve to influence how people think about any number of topics, based on what is socially permissible to say or not say.”1

On a Dangerous Path
All Americans, male and female (contrary to liberal fantasies, no other genders exist) should fight against this onslaught of what is more accurately called “intrusive language.” Forcing the acceptance of perversion via the manipulation of language, especially among those most vulnerable, is morally reprehensible.

Critics rightly consider these efforts Orwellian. In a famous essay published in 1946 titled “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell wrote, “If thoughts corrupt language, language can also corrupt thought.”

From corrupting thoughts to corrupting reality, American society is being transformed into something that would be totally unrecognizable to our ancestors. Mutilated and androgynized in both word and deed, how long before the “Jennerization” of America leads us to self-identify our society out of existence?

Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand

As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against violent temptation to sin, be it toward homosexual sin or otherwise.

We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weaknesses and strive to overcome them and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride, and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for them too.

According to the expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.” And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is to wish for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.” (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, no. 49, www.newadvent.org/fathers/1401.htm)

Footnotes

  1. Gramsci, Antonio, and David Forgacs. The Antonio Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings 1916-1935, New York: Schocken, 1988, p.250-251.

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