Political correctness: an impediment to reconciliation

But there is a far more insidious problem associated with being offended by the term “Aborigine”. To be offended (which is a choice) actually communicates to the “offender” (that is the person using the “offensive” term) that he or she has more power over you, than you have over yourself.

[Note: This article was originally posted on December 15th, 2011. The IFNM website was attacked by hackers and many articles are now gone from the archives. As a public service, IFNM is now reposting said articles.]

Many would agree that political correctness (PC) has gone well beyond the stage of being useful and on to the stage of being a serious hindrance to addressing many of the social problems that plague society.

It has perhaps created more problems than what it was intended to solve. This is particularly true for the Aboriginal community, a topic I wish to discuss here. Specifically, I wish to discuss the use of the term “Aborigine” and whether it is appropriate or inappropriate to use it when describing people with Aboriginal ancestry.

As someone who teaches university students on Indigenous issues, I was surprised to recently learn that the term “Aborigine” is no longer the preferred term when referring to Australia’s Indigenous people. Actually, I heard this claim a couple of years ago, but dismissed it quickly. Apparently the preferred term now is “Aboriginal people/person/Australian.”

A quick search on the web shows that this is the case. Various government publications suggest that although the term “Aborigine” is grammatically correct, that one should be aware that it has “negative connotations with many Aboriginal people”.


Original source.

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