Why it's not OK to call someone a nutcase | Julie Anne Pattee

(www.thespec.com)

Words make worlds, as the saying goes. Using inclusive language isn't some kind of pointless, politically correct obsession. It's actually the necessary first step toward creating a fairer, more equal society for all of us.

The opinion piece starts out describing a Lego antagonist called “Crazy” as a viscous character that should be watched and, ideally, avoided. The author then goes on to say that we shouldn’t use any words that describe various types of mental illness anywhere else. She goes on to say:

[…] It's still normal for the weather and the stock markets to be described as schizophrenic. Every time something bad or unfair happens to one of my friends, they'll tell me it was "just insane."

As insensitive as this may seem, words mean different things to different people in different contexts across different cultures. The only way one is going to bring about “inclusive language” that also enables people to effectively communicate their emotions and perspectives is to forbid communication altogether. As over-reactionary as it sounds, this is the only way to get around the problem of words meaning different things to different people in different contexts across different cultures.

Some words will hurt people based on past experiences. There is no denying this. The way forward is not to protect people from words, but to foster resiliency. This is how people overcome phobias. A claustrophobic person doesn’t overcome their fear of elevators by taking the escalator.