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Opinion editorials by Katey LaFrance

as seen in the Liberal Opinion Week and other publications.
Member of the National Writer's Union.

Check your pejorative at the door

   The term, politically correct, meant to nurture an environment of tolerance and equality, has itself become a "dirty word" in reference to those of us who would be inclusive and just plain nice. In that light, then, I am using a new term: "ethically conscious" instead of the much maligned PC.

   As one who has studied the power of the spoken word for a long time and worked on bias crimes legislation for the past six years, I find nothing wrong in changing the language to reflect an enlightened consciousness. I believe one of the beauties of language is that it can change and be added to.

   I have also adopted what I consider to be the ethically conscious language of Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He refers to other Americans, not by their racial background, as in African American or Asian American, but by what he believes to be more accurate, that is American of African or Asian descent.

   Our subconscious is not objective. Like a computer it takes in anything we feed it and, believes it to be the truth. That's why advertising works so well.

   If we don't change what people hear, especially what children hear, how can we hope for an improvement of society for all people? Take a child and use negative language around him, day in and day out, and it will have a detrimental effect. If we don't speak up when we are offended or hurt, things will never change; injustice will be served and none the wiser, or better off.

   I am not advocating control of anybody's speech or mind. Privately, anybody is free to declare whatever they want. What I am concerned about is in general society. On the eve of the a new century, let alone a millennium, there are still people who would welcome societal approval of once again posting "no coloureds allowed" in their businesses' windows.

   As a friend of mine recently noted, "The hate mongers are governed by the same laws that govern the rest of us. If we fight them, and we must, we do so within reasoned application of the law, diligent law enforcement, and organized social pressure; we must all practice responsible, considerate behaviors. Our words and deeds must be those of sensitive adults who display acceptance and open minds to all people."

   When those who harbour hate for a race, gender, or whatever, are expected to be polite or ethical in the language they use in society, it means one more person, who may have been the object of their hatred, escapes the degradation of spirit, feelings of despair, and, even anger such terms may cause. Collectively, we can demand a more enlightened rhetoric to pervade our daily, mass consciousness. It does have an effect. If we don't work towards a change in mass consciousness, towards the upliftment of all humankind, then what are we even doing here?

   With corporations, educational institutions, and government entities having their own ethics committees and training programs, it seems the politically correct thing to do in declaring ourselves ethically conscious or "EC" in keeping with the goals of a better world for all.

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