Political movements have been fueled by the power of the word. I remember singing “catch a nigger by the toe if he hollers let him go” with absolutely no awareness that I was cheerfully mouthing an awful racial slur.
As a baby boomer and roommate of my dear friend who was both black and Jewish (she got to hear all the “words”), I journeyed with her through all the current PC terms as in black, African American, biracial and whatever seemed to prevail. And I was told by my children, in no uncertain terms, that referring to their friend as somekindof Oriental was shocking and very un PC. “Asian American, Mom.”
I, myself, have taken great umbrage to being called a “girl”. Seems to me that my girl hood is gone with a lot of other things. And there is something denigrating about being put in a sub-category just like black men were called “boys”.
I also think how powerful names are. What comes to mind, of course, after the recent death of Muhammad Ali is his stand against war and his clarification of his identity. I do remember being puzzled and shocked when he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.
In my last post I decided that it might be time to lay down the burden of widowhood, and just to declare myself and put on the endless forms that modern life brings the self-identifier “single”.
Curiously, shortly after this decision I met a man who has become a serious romantic interest.