One particularly frivolous trend currently pervading the nation is the move towards gender neutral language, which seeks to reduce assumptions regarding the sex or gender of a subject. In other words, seemingly innocent terms such as chairman, policeman, and businessman should be shunned and replaced with the more accepting chairperson, police officer, and business person.
Thankfully, both HB 1739 and SB 1180, “Implement Gender Neutral Terms,” seek to rectify the supposed discrimination associated with using non-inclusive language. Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Wake) and Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) are the primary sponsors of the respective bills that would amend the North Carolina General Statutes to replace gendered terms with their gender-neutral counterparts.
What makes these two bills bad is the triviality of the rationale behind them. Proponents of gender neutrality suggest that by replacing gender-specific terms with gender-neutral terms, we can, in effect, subconsciously revolutionize thought that will eventually result in greater gender equality. That gender-specific language is a root problem of social injustice is too absurd to be taken seriously. Furthermore, the use of masculine pronouns to refer to a group of people of mixed or indeterminate gender is commonly found in other languages around the world, including the great Romance languages.
One does not need to think too long before coming up with more pressing matters for the General Assembly to address. There is no “term” police to enforce this policy and no fine fixed scale has been determined if you wrongly say chairman instead of chairperson. Careful though, you might get a dirty look for using the wrong vernacular. For all of these reasons, HB 1739 and SB 1180 are this week’s “Bad Bill of the Week.”