Western Massachusetts made the national news on April 3, regarding the controversy over the potential superintendent of the Easthampton school district. Dr. Vito Perrone was hired and fired before he could get started, for the crime of inappropriate language.
Perrone emailed the two women who are heads of the school committee for salary negotiations. In the email greeting, he said salutations, ladies. Cynthia Kwiceniski is quoted as saying his language was extremely unprofessional and inappropriate and deemed it to be a microaggression. There are countless examples of how controlled our language has become. And when our language is controlled to such a high degree it controls our lives.
I was raised to be polite and gentlemen-like. My grandmother would preach to me to always offer to take the lady’s coat for her when she entered a home. I was told to always hold the door open for a lady. During my interactions with those women whose names I do not know, I still say “thank you, lady” instead of “thank you, ma’am.”
The term “ladies and gentlemen” has already been removed from Disney’s theme parks. Perhaps Dr. Perrone and I are behind in the times, or people are finding creative ways to be sensitive. There are countless examples of how the word police from the left has hijacked our language.
Equity and equality sound the same but have different meanings. Democratic politicians use the words interchangeably to confuse the public with what is happening. Equality is what we already have and is defined as each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. The word equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, but an equal outcome must be reached. Affirmative action is an example of equity.
I have heard people call drag queen story hour “costumed themed storytelling.” You can put lipstick on the man or lipstick on the language, but each are ugly to me. When the left speaks of sex changes and chemical castrations of children, they use term gender-affirming care. This is the same term used in polls to claim it is popular among Americans, but I would argue the language has confused many into agreeing. Planned Parenthood are abortion clinics. There was a viral video with a college professor speaking of pedophiles who was pushing for that word to be removed for its stigmatism. Her push is to change out pedophile for “MAP.” This map isn’t used for navigation, but an acronym standing for “minor attracted persons.” A Supreme Court justice and many with fancy degrees cannot even answer the question, what is a woman. The response out of a 4-year-old is more coherent.
During the height of the BLM riots, when many cities were burning down nightly, CNN would plaster on their screen “mostly peaceful protest.” What our eyes saw and what we read contradicted one another. The words “assault weapon” or “assault rifle” are in the headlines each day. The word weapon is defined as a thing designed or used to inflict bodily harm or damage. All weapons are assault weapons. It just sounds scarier that way.
A headline from even a few years ago could have said “Illegal alien was apprehended at the border.” Now the headline would be “An undocumented migrant is being detained at the border.” The headlines grab our attention and the words in the story formulate our opinions. The headlines and the words are increasingly dishonest and misleading.
Even the bills being pushed through by Congress use these tactics. The Biden administration was proud in having passed their “Inflation Reduction Act,” but this legislation has nothing to do with reducing inflation and all to do with climate change initiatives.
What happened to the local would-be superintendent is an eye roller, but nothing unique in our society today. The examples from the recent past are countless and there will be many more in the future. The hard lesson is to keep your mouth shut and say nothing. Become a woke robot and speak in a way you likely do not think. Stifle your jokes and pleasant greetings. It’s not kindergarten class and we are not wearing name tags anymore, making this a tougher task. If you do not know their name or their preferred gender, how can we even say hello without offending someone?
Maybe the answer is to put your mask back on, keep your head down and speak carefully only when spoken to. I have too many things to say and questions of curiosity for those I come across to ever live that way. I shall stick to my “Hey lady or fella” greetings and even dare to pair it up with a wink and my infamous smirk!
Dan Oleksak is a Westfield resident. Residents of Greater Westfield interested in writing a guest commentary in The Westfield News should contact the editor at email@example.com.