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What can we say nowadays?

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My grandmother had been programmed by life during the Great Depression and the two world wars, so she was endowed with some good verses like: “Patience is a virtue, have it if you can, rarely found in women, never found in humans.

Of course, these generalizations about humanity have become socially dangerous with younger members of my family often telling me “you can’t say that now”.

I was informed by my colleague Ben Fordham after doing my business and finance spot on Thursday that we can no longer call an elderly Australian “a silly old asshole”. I did not use this expression elsewhere! This return has often been used to describe an annoying elderly person. He was made politically famous by Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1989. The Prime Minister replied to a retiree named Bob Bell with this insult, after the latter gave him a sip as he strolled with the public for a drink. photo shoot.

The public backlash was such that Hawke apologized to Bob, but it really was to all retirees. “It was an apology to Australian retirees aimed at trying to minimize political damage from an incident which government strategists believe could potentially undermine the government’s political strategy to ensure the politically important vote of the elderly in the upcoming election. federal “, wrote AFR journalist Geoff Kitney at the time.

Ageism-based slurs aside (which seems to be the main axis of sentiment against the old Australian adage), when you think about it, how as a society have we allowed the word ‘bugger’ to become so? accepted?

There was even a famous TV commercial for a car where, when the going gets tough, the slogan was “asshole!” “

It’s as if society isn’t aware of how some people might have been affected by the word ‘bugger’ that we never thought about its true meaning. And we didn’t even think about how those who had been negatively affected by despicable humans might react when we casually and humorously tossed that word.

Personally, I was just as guilty, but the penny dropped when I thought about how society cared so much that the elderly were called ‘old’, while apparently not being mad at it. use of the word bugger!

And it got me thinking about how we are so hot under the collar on trivial matters, but are so relaxed about so many intolerably bad aspects of society.

I will never forget how vindictive the “Twitter sphere” was against me when I argued that house prices would not collapse 30% or 40% in 2018. A 60 minutes
The program quoted “Martin North, founder of Digital Finance Analytics, who said rising household debt, compounded by falling prices in Sydney and Melbourne, would cause house prices to drop from 40 to 45. % over the next 12 months “. (afr.com)

I even interviewed Martin, who said he was taken out of context, but those praying for a judgment day for upbeat real estate players saw me as the devil incarnate, rather than an economist with an alternative, and (as history has shown) a more correct view.

What I am advocating is that society put in proportion what is and what is not important when it comes to public beating.

Last week I interviewed the great young Australian entrepreneur, Michael Cassel, who brought this sensational musical Hamilton to Australia. It was for my podcast Learn from legends program.

He explained to me that Alexander Hamilton was an orphan from the West Indies and since I always try to put myself in a listener’s shoes, I asked if Hamilton was black? I have to admit I paused, thinking about how I should ask this question, as we live in an age where there are plenty of commentators through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, not to mention mainstream media.

Family and co-workers, who regularly remind me that “you can’t say today daddy, Peter and Switz” suggested that I shouldn’t have used “black”.

On second thought, “person of color” has become socially responsible now and that would have been the safest tag for me to use, but I still couldn’t resist seeing if my critics were right and if I was wrong. .

Good ol ‘Google took me to an NBC affiliate TV station called KARE11 in Minneapolis, USA that was hosting a Black History Month and a viewer asked if she should call someone black. or African American.

Keith Mayes, associate professor of African American and African studies at the University of Minnesota, says the words can be used interchangeably. He added that some think African Americans are too limiting for the current population.

“Those who are descendants of slaves were called African Americans. The percentage of these blacks is declining. Previously 97.98% of blacks you meet would be descendants of African American slaves, ”Mayes said. “We have more black people here from other parts of the diaspora and other parts of the continent. We have a lot of East Africans here. West Africans here have always had a lot of Black Caribbean people in the United States.

I should say this was a story from 2019 and what is acceptable may have changed over the past couple of years, but what I found interesting was Professor Mayes’ perception on color as a function of age when a person is called a “person of color”.

“In general, blacks or African Americans are fine. The color is not. The negro is not. (N-word isn’t.) And that’s another educational moment we need to have in this country because we don’t even know what terms to use when talking to people.

For me, being aware of how individuals might be affected by what we say is really important. But when people make a mistake because they don’t know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, the intention of what is said should become the real reason to hold on to someone.

Ironically, in an awakened age (which refers to people who are aware of issues that concern social justice and racial justice), sometimes these people are in fact too much or poorly awake, so they mistakenly call them. people for doing something wrong, which isn’t really bad at all.

Perhaps “expert” commentators should reserve their outrage on really important questions. I would respectfully recommend that they consider doing some reading on tolerance and stoicism.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Tolerance does not imply a lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.


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