Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mincing Words

The word I want to mince today is: Discrimination.

Webster’s Dictionary defines discrimination as the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently; or the quality or power of finely distinguishing. My computer thesaurus lists good taste, insight, perception, and refinement as some of the meanings.

Morris the Cat was applauded for his discriminating taste in 9 Lives cat food commercials. (Or was that the Persian cat in the Sheba commercials?) So in cat language, discrimination means "finicky."

This is one of many words the news media or other public factions have vilified or corrupted. Its definition changed from finely differentiating to bigotry or racism.

And someone created the term Reverse Discrimination to describe an act of segregation against Caucasian people.

Talk show host Janet Parshall used that term on her radio program, In the Market, to describe an incident in which a college rejected a student’s application, not because of low grades, but because of her white ethnicity.  

The reverse of any action means that action occurs in the opposite direction; or reverses course, or inverts. If that’s correct, then reverse discrimination would actually mean acceptance. Did the college admissions board members disallow the student based on their bias or bigotry against a specific race? That isn’t acceptance. That’s bigotry.

My aim here is not to throw a rock at Janet Parshall. She’s a wonderful emcee and well-informed speaker. I enjoy her Moody Radio program on my way home from work. But it’s a bit disappointing to hear our friends and favorite broadcasters fall into the trap set by the enemy who wants to confuse and confound our language. As a Christian writer, I feel a duty to protect our form of communication and use words in their proper function.

Now, I’ll use my discriminating taste to decide where to have supper tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Just a thought...Reading the King James Bible, we note how words have changed and metamorphosed through time; and how many of them have to be defined for us to understand the meaning in Bible culture or our own.
    Throughout history meanings have changed through common usage and, as a result, definitions have changed!
    Here's how Google defined discriminate:
    1.recognize a distinction; differentiate.
    "babies can discriminate between different facial expressions of emotion"
    synonyms: differentiate, distinguish, draw a distinction, tell the difference, tell apart; separate, separate the sheep from the goats, separate the wheat from the chaff
    "he cannot discriminate between fact and fiction"
    perceive or constitute the difference in or between. "bats can discriminate a difference in echo delay of between 69 and 98 millionths of a second"
    2. make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, sex, or age. "existing employment policies discriminate against women"
    synonyms: be biased against, be prejudiced against; treat differently, treat unfairly, put at a disadvantage, single out; victimize

    Mom used to always quote "a double negative makes a positive," so when someone says "I ain't got no respect," my ears prick up.

    Because of her irritation with the misuse of me and I, I notice the constant infractions from well known writers, pastors and other speakers. I wonder if either of those two rules will also change from common usage. I arguing with you or agreeing with you? Maybe, a little of each! LOL