This is not my first piece about the manipulation of language, and it probably will not be my last. The inspiration for this little diatribe was the information in the screenshot below. To me, it is an excellent example of how ludicrous the woke culture’s desire to change the way we speak and think can be.
First, let me make something clear. I do not care how someone identifies, what pronoun a person prefers, or what lengths someone goes to seek a balance between their vision of themselves and their physiology. To the best of my ability, I will honor their feelings on the matter.
With that said, I am becoming more and more perturbed with the grammar police, be the enforcer human or algorithm. For example, consider this comment by an editing program. It popped up when I wrote, “most of the lakes in Texas are man-made.”
Again, I understand it is important to be inclusive and open as much as humanly possible. For decades, I worked with an organization providing diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
We helped community organizations, schools, colleges, universities, corporations, and law enforcement deal with issues of discrimination and harassment.
I co-led seminars on dealing with discrimination in the workplace from south Texas to Connecticut. I also briefed government officials on hate crimes issues in higher education from California to the District of Columbia. In short, I understand and have worked to deal with issues of discrimination, exclusion, and mistreatment by employers, governmental entities, and the average Joe.
So what is my point here? It is this. I understand why many people become concerned when others use terms or labels that can be used to denigrate, directly or indirectly, people they see as different. Still, I am troubled by how some politicians, academics, and other leaders are pushing an agenda that will likely cause more issues than it solves. Consider the “sensitivity” critique I received above.
It is true that some within society may be triggered by the term man-made. However, the solution offered by the editing system I use is confusing and inaccurate. That is part of the problem with attempting to adjust the language to fit the societal biases of the moment.
The fact that human effort helped create a lake does not make it “artificial.” It is still a lake. On the other hand, there are small bodies of water today some might call lakes that are completely artificial, except for the water. You can find such artificial lakes at resorts, planned communities, amusement parks, and other locations.1
They are artificial for several reasons. The most important is they are not fed by natural sources. Water does not come from a spring, a creek, or a river. The water used to fill these “lakes or lagoons” comes from wells or is piped in from other locations. Bodies of water such as this are no more natural than a swimming pool. Humans completely manufacture them.
On the other hand, a “man-made” lake exists because humans constructed a dam or dug a new channel for a river or creek to form the lake. Once the human efforts were finished, the natural flowing water and rain finished the work.2
I realize some readers may still be scratching their heads, wondering what real difference this makes. They will wonder if I am not splitting hairs, but that is not the case. The reality is that how a lake came into existence is not the issue. The issue is the need to change the language because it might distract or upset someone.
One way to change society or culture is to change the language. Historically, the language evolved with societies or changes such as massive immigration, scientific advances, and similar stimuli. Today, we change the language to meet the agenda-driven outcries of activists, politicians, and others who feel superior to the rest of us.
© oneoldcop.com – 2022
- Some might quibble with this comment, but there are companies promoting their services to provide artificial lakes and other bodies of water.
- If someone wants to split hairs on this matter, it is possible to claim lakes created through human effort should properly be called reservoirs. However, every reservoir I’ve visited in my life of any size was called a lake by those who lived near it.