Friday, November 23, 2007


A local laundry operator was held up at knifepoint, and the local paper gives the usual details:

The man walked into the business, asked for a piece of paper and wrote a demand for money. He left without further incident and no injuries were reported.

The man was described as being about 40 years old, about 6-feet tall, about 225 to 250 pounds and with a light mustache.

Wow, the description avoids any racial description, but offends other gender, age, and physical attribute groups.

Describing the suspect as male is sexist, as the perp could be a woman trapped in a man's body. The facial hair trait is also sexist. So, we better scratch the descriptors "man" and "with a light mustache".

Giving an age range is patently offensive, as age shouldn't be a factor in assigning blame for a crime. So, scratch the "about 40 years old".

By announcing his height, you've disparaged people of moderate stature. So, you'd better lose the "about 6 feet tall" as well.

The overweight are constantly discriminated against, and would be insulted by a weight bias in the paper's report. Better to eliminate the derogatory "about 225 to 250 pounds" as well.

That leaves us with a more socially just description of the unfortunate offender:

The suspect was described as being.

Everyone happy now?


Anonymous said...

I read that newstory. I am also in the Lincoln Diocese, small town. I just found your blog and its nice to see another Bruskewitz fan.

ptg said...

"The suspect was described as being.
Everyone happy now?"


As a crypto-solipsistic existentialist, I take offense at describing the perpetrator as 'being'. Nothing is but I am.

And it won't make me feel any better to conditionalize the description, (the perp might have been...) because to do so trivializes language. It would be best if nothing were said at all.