I’m not sure if I’ve just noticed it or if it’s a new phenomenon (or even two separate phenomena), but many people on social media platforms seem to have either taken a distinct turn for the racist/sexist OR gone completely the other way and become obsessed with not being even slightly racist/sexist.
So let me explain. In this world there are some truly lovely people and some absolute shits (with most of us falling somewhere between those extremes). This loveliness or shittiness has nothing to do with race, religion, sex, gender, or anything else like that. It may have something to do with the individual’s past life experience, but more probably, it’s just how that person is.
If you’ve only met, say, one being from the planet Zargogoggle, and that being was an absolute wanker, then OK, you might be a bit wary of the next Zargogogglean you meet, but give them a chance — just think how many absolute wankers of your own species you’ve encountered at one time or another! The next Zargogogglean you meet might be the nicest entity you’ve ever encountered.
Having said that, if someone refers to the Zargogoggleans as ‘space aliens’ when the preferred, politically correct term is ‘extra-terrestrial lifeforms’, then think about the intention behind the words and not just the words themselves. Not everyone is up to speed on what is acceptable and what’s frowned upon, and situations can occur for which — even with the best endeavours to remain current — one is unprepared and still using last year’s lexis.
Jumping up and down and having a fit of the screaming heebie-jeebies (apologies to anyone I’ve offended by implying that heebie-jeebies are invariably prone to hysteria) just because someone uses a slightly ‘wrong’ word, and consequently guilt-tripping them into feeling the need to censor their language to conform to a perceived non-offensive agenda, impoverishes both human interaction and the quality of language itself. Ultimately, whatever terminology a person uses will be offensive to someone, somewhere, for some reason. Unless we all take vows of silence and refrain from making any sort of gesture with our hands or bodies, we’re pretty much bound to screw up eventually. Such is life.
Oh, and by the way, if I wanted to insult the Zargogoggleans, I wouldn’t just call them ‘space aliens’, I’d call them ‘googly-eyed slime monsters from Mars’, thus showing my extraopthalmophobia and my ignorance of their provenance (everyone in their right minds knows that Zargogoggle is millions of light years away from Mars, d’oh).