Aloha, DL

I haven’t paid much attention to baseball this year (although if you do, I’ll make a shameless plug for my son Nick’s outstanding baseball-analysis website, Pitcher List). But I have just noticed that what used to be called the “disabled list” is now the “injured list”. Why? It’s because the word “disabled” might offend someone.

This is hilarious, not least because the word “disabled” was itself, not so long ago, a prissy substitute for the clear and ordinary word “crippled”, which had served speakers of English perfectly well since the early 14th century. (To be fair, there was never a “crippled list” in baseball, but that’s because “crippled” generally implies a permanent condition. Indeed, the substitution of “disabled” for “crippled” in general use was euphemistic in two different ways: not only as a prissy substitute for the underlying state of impairment it describes, but also in that it masks this depressing likelihood of permanence.)

Way back in 2006, I wrote a post about this. An excerpt:

This is “euphemism creep”: a social-engineering effort to ameliorate perceived instances of societal stigmatization simply by replacing old, freighted terms with new, officially-approved ones. “Crippled” becomes “disabled”, then “differently abled”. “Niggers” became “Negroes”, then “colored persons”, then “Blacks”, then “African-Americans”, then “persons of color”. Think about that – you can in perfectly P.C. good taste refer to someone as a “person of color”, but to say “colored person” these days could cost you your job.

I mention all of this not to belittle the sufferings of those who are unjustly discriminated against, but to point out that this does very little, if anything at all, to solve their problem, as is indicated by the very fact that the euphemisms have to be replaced every so often with new ones. As long as the underlying attitudes remain, each new term simply acquires the same social baggage the previous one had. Metaphorically it reminds me of the geology of the Hawaiian Island chain; the row of islands was formed one after the other as the Earth’s crust moved over a stationary volcanic “hot spot”.

I don’t know where we’ll go from “injured list” a few years hence, as the tectonic treadmill grinds along. “Dignity list” or something, perhaps. At least that way we can call it the DL again.


  1. JK says

    And, maybe, Aloha “something else.”

    Background links:

    Posted June 8, 2019 at 12:50 am | Permalink
  2. Jason says

    There is a lesson regarding the Oberlin case, JK. One of the best ways to curb the SJWs’ abuses is simply to make them literally pay. Sue their asses, deny federal funding and donations to universities, and so forth. Make them feel the financial pinch and their “convictions” about the downtrodden will evaporate rather quickly, like a pat of butter in a hot skillet.

    Posted June 8, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

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