I have at times found myself hesitating when searching for words that won’t offend someone or make me sound like insensitive ‘white trash’ (surely a politically incorrect term, but one that I accept, given my humble beginnings, my sometimes crazy family, and my love of tacky Christmas ornaments).
In my 20s and 30s, I would never have referred women as 'the girls' but have to admit that I now kind of like it and think of my group of friends that way. (Maybe it makes me feel young).
I remember a few years back describing racial tension between the ‘blacks and whites’ of the Halifax of my childhood. My son pointed out that I should use the term ‘black people’, although I sincerely didn’t mean any disrespect.
I should also have known better than to describe someone of eastern Asian descent as ‘oriental’, although I felt better when I heard a friend who’s adopted son was born in Korea use the term herself.
While I do have several lesbian friends, I’m never sure if it’s OK to refer to them as ‘gay’ or does that just describe homosexual males?
I saw the author of Middlesex on Oprah and learned that ‘hermaphrodites’ are now ‘intersexed’ and ‘sex change’ is now referred to as ‘gender reassignment’.
I could go on and on. There really should be a manual for this! (And don't even get me started on 'Christmas').
So, I put it out there. If I ever use the wrong term, please understand that I mean no disrespect and forgive me for my ‘political incorrectness’ (or is there a new less offensive term for that too?).