George Carlin had a bit called the “7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say On TV”. At the time, the FCC made clear seven words that stood above all others as unacceptable for the ears of the public. Word use on television, for better or worse, is less of a sticking point today, and maybe Carlin had some small part in unclogging the linguistic paternalism of the day. Humor draws attention to contradictions and can lay bare the absurd.
But, there’s absurd, and then there is ABSURD, and we’re now in a place where humor doesn’t quite cut it.
The Washington Post recently reported the Administration instructed the CDC that there are 7 words to be stricken from all CDC budget documents. It’s not entirely clear whether seven is the number they came up with based on the merits of the words themselves, or that it just had a nice ring to it in a bizarre homage to Carlin’s routine so many years ago.
Nonetheless, seven it is… and here they are:
Transgender, Diversity, Fetus, Vulnerable, Entitlement, Evidence-Based, Science-Based
Take a moment and read them again. Hard to comprehend, isn’t it? To make sense of it all, let’s check in with the region’s former longtime Congressional Representative, Rush Holt, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“Here’s a word that’s still allowed… Ridiculous.”
Yes, Rush, ridiculous indeed.
Every single day, young people watch and listen, and what they see and hear shapes their world. Banning words, not because the words themselves are commonly offensive, but because they are a threat to an agenda, is a naked attempt to disappear dissent and further marginalize entire populations as unworthy “others”.
At HiTOPS, we work hard every single day to make sure youth have access to age appropriate factual information about their sexual health and well-being. One thread running through much of our work with youth centers on understanding and accepting one’s self and others.
“Language shapes our map of the world. If ‘transgender’ ceases to exist as a term in official government documents, we, too, begin to vanish”
Gabrielle Bellot in a column for an LGBT publication, THEM.
So what do we do?
Well, we came up with our own words. Actually, we recently came up with the 30 words in this image in connection with this, our 30th Year at HiTOPS, and as if being called by the universe, had them ready just in the nick of time.
Boiling the proverbial ocean can have paralyzing effect. Every small act of good is a step in the right direction. Words matter. Make yours heard.
The Board and Staff of HiTOPS
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