Thursday, November 20, 2008

P.C. Update

As a textbook writer, I am in the forefront of forced political correctness. In case you're not keeping up, here are just a very few of the latest rules and regs from a client who shall remain nameless. This sort of list is not unique to that client, I rush to point out; it's just especially thorough.

Many P.C. rules come about as a way of avoiding offending folks who follow certain religions.
Avoid all possible suggestions of evolution or creationism. Do not refer to people as animals. However, if necessary, it’s generally possible to use separate sentences to discuss the similar characteristics of humans and some animals.
Avoid religious holidays, though it is possible to mention the winter or spring break in a school year. Selections may include a reference to Thanksgiving, but do not emphasize the religious aspect of the holiday. Instead focus on thankfulness for a good harvest or the abundance of food if necessary.
When it comes to people, it's a good idea to remember that their condition is foist upon them; it does not define them. Therefore, a good P.C. rule of thumb is to use adjectives, not nouns, as in these examples.
Avoid using the word slave; instead use enslaved person. Wrong: stutterers, autistics Correct: people who stutter, children with autism
It's a drag, but
Because the visual evidence of hearing impairment is subtle, they don’t count toward the “handicap” percentages.
In general, all violence is verboten, as are references to gambling or other bad behavior.
Be sensitive about animals hunting other animals. Close-up images of predator-prey relationships should generally be avoided.
Wrong: I’ll bet she is at home; I’m your best bet. Correct: I think she is at home; I’m the best choice.
And animals are our friends, although we are not related.
Any zoos in fiction or nonfiction selections should house animals in natural-looking settings instead of cages with bars.
No politics; apparently even overt patriotism is questionable.
With the exception of uniformed police, firefighters, or other community service workers, no characters should wear national flags. Photographs of public figures wearing U.S. flag lapel pins are acceptable.
And always be specific.
DinĂ© is preferable to Navajo; Lakota, Nakota, or Dakota (depending on the language spoken by the group’s ancestors) is preferable to Sioux.
Use Hispanic to refer to cultures that are connected to Spain, not cultures developed in the Americas.


DZ said...

And no witches, or even Halloween. I tend to use Arbor Day a lot, even though I've never known when it is. I haven't seen directives on acceptable food use in while, though -- remember when we used to have to be vegetarian for the CA editions and not include anything unhealthy? Even PB&J was too sugary.

KAZ said...

Oh, believe me, food is still an issue: "When possible replace references to ice cream, potato chips, and cookies with references to fruit, popcorn, and yogurt. Avoid soft drinks; instead use lemonade, fruit juice, hot cocoa, or water." And the safety issues are beyond belief--you cannot place a child, even in a fantasy, in a situation where he or she is "exploring an unknown place alone, unless he or she is clearly dreaming."

David Makar said...

Is it just me or is this sad?

KAZ said...

Oh, it's very sad. It has progressed in this direction for many years, to the point where everything is so sanitized and corrected that it bears little relation to real life. No wonder kids think school has nothing to do with them.

It's what you get when education is politicized and state committees decide what they want to see in school texts.

mlutwak said...

Don't forget children in caves.

KAZ said...

Absolutely no children in caves. In fact, no child alone exploring anywhere, unless it's obviously a dream sequence.