Using the “masculine” form “by default” should be avoided, according to Helena Dalli, EU Equal Opportunities Commissioner, working tirelessly to make the world a better place by erasing all distinctions. But “Dear Sir or Madam” doesn’t use the “masculine” form “by default” – it carefully allows, in full diversity-inclusivity-equity mode, both the masculine and the feminine possibilities. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald
Here’s the latest installment in the Annals of Idiocy: “Inclusiveness: a European Commissioner recommends no longer using ‘Christmas,’ ‘Christian’ names and the masculine”, translated from “Inclusivité : une commissaire européenne recommande de ne plus utiliser “Noël”, les noms “chrétiens” et le masculin,” Valuers Actuelles, November 29, 2021:
European Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli launched an internal guide for inclusive communication at the end of October. This prohibits a number of expressions deemed to be stigmatizing according to gender, sexual identities, ethnic origins or culture, the Italian daily Il Giornale revealed on Sunday (November 28). These recommendations aim to “reflect diversity” and to fight against “stereotypes deeply rooted in individual and collective behavior.”
One “stereotype” that racists have is that many black people have names like “Dequan” and “Lashonda” and “Takeesha.” So in order to combat that stereotype, all such names should be banned. No sense giving white racists grist for their mill.
Using Italian names for gangsters in movies about the Mafia simply reinforces stereotypes about “Italo-American” criminals. The only solution is to make sure that no Italian names are used for Mafia members. “Henry” and “Charles” are acceptable as gangster names, but “Enrico” and “Carlo” are not. No Mafia gangster should be shown either cooking, or eating, a plate of pasta. Garlic should also not be mentioned.
Similarly, in a movie about Mexican drug traffickers, their names must not lead anyone to think that they are in any way “Mexican”; that would not be fair, as such names would only reinforce a “stereotype” that far too many of us unthinkingly accept. Give them names like “Randolph” and “James” and “Alice.” Under no conditions should any Mexican drug trafficker be called “El Chapo” or “El Gordo” or “El Mata Amigos.”
In general, the report suggests that no one should be identified on the basis of their particularity or in a way that is not [sic] offensive. For example, the use of the masculine form “by default” should be prohibited and the salutation “Dear Sir or Madam” should be replaced by “Dear Colleague.”
Gender-specific terms such as “workmen” should also not be used. As the document – Dalli’s internal guide –is written in English, some recommendations are not applicable to other languages. The text also provides that one should never ” imply ” a person’s sexual orientation or even their gender identity. Similarly, it considers that a reference to elements of Christian culture “assumes that all people are Christians.” It therefore recommends deleting the reference to Christmas and speaking instead of “holidays.” Christian names such as “Mary” or “John” should be banned, according to the Commissioner.
But how can you write, say, an application letter for an academic job and use as your salutation — as Helena Dalli recommends – “Dear Colleague”? You aren’t anyone’s “colleague” yet – that’s what you are applying to be – and use of that salutation would merely come across as presumptuous, and likely nip in the bud your chances to be hired.
To eliminate all gender specific names, start with the easy ones. Thus “workman” can become “worker.” But what do we do when we come, say, to weddings, where there is an insufficiently “inclusive” focus on the “man” and the “woman”? Revise the text. “Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband” should instead become “Do you take this man or woman or non-binary other, to be your lawful wedded husband or wife or non-binary other”? Eventually it might be a good idea to provide a single word that can refer equally to both “husband” and “wife.” We’re working on it.
Using the “masculine” form “by default” should. be avoided, according to Helena Dalli, EU Equal Opportunities Commissioner, working tirelessly to make the world a better place by erasing all distinctions. But “Dear Sir or Madam” doesn’t use the “masculine” form “by default” – it carefully allows, in full diversity-inclusivity-equity mode, both the masculine and the feminine possibilities.
The claim that a reference to “elements of Christian culture” necessarily “assumes that all people are Christian” is utter nonsense. If I mention “the Bamiyan Buddhas,” does this make me guilty of assuming “that all people are Buddhist”? If I write that “the holiday of Diwali is observed differently by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, creating a rich tapestry of cultural traditions and customs,” have I thereby assumed that everybody in the world is either “Hindu, Jain, Sikh, or Buddhist”? If I mention “Hanukkah” or a menorah, or show on YouTube a lesson on “how to spin a dreidl,” have I assumed that everyone in the world is “Jewish”? Should all references to the Bible be eliminated, because such references would be unacceptable, as “too Christian” or too “Judeo-Christian”? Surely we can’t have that in our brave new world that hath such creatures in it as Helena Dalli. Indeed, as the Bible itself is a venerable vehicle for what we now recognize as sexism, why not go beyond forbidding the reading of the Bible, and make possession of the book itself a crime?
Helena Dalli, the powerful EU Commissioner, thinks we need to rid the world of names that are too linked to Christianity. She mentions as examples of names that must no longer be used “Mary” and “John.” But these are just the names that come immediately to mind. We need to get rid as well of other names smacking of Christianity, including “Peter,” “Simon,” Thomas,” “Joseph,” “Martha,” “Christopher,” George” (which makes one think of “Saint George”), “Andrew,” “Samuel” and so many more names that are “too Christian” for Christians – or anyone else — to use.
But why does Helena Dalli not mention the need to abolish names that are “too connected” to the religion of Islam? Why should “Mary” and “John” be eliminated, but “Mohammed” and its many variants — Mahmoud, Ahmad, Muhammad, Magomed, Mahmad, Mehmet, Mamadou, Muhammadu, Mahamed, Mohamad, Mohamed, Mohammad, and so on – be tolerated inside the EU? Helena Dalli should provide us with a list of names that she believes are unacceptably linked to religions other than Christianity, the sole faith she mentions and for which she appears to bear a deep animus. Then we can get to work banning those names as well.
She’s also against mention of the very word “Christmas.”
Even the expression “colonizing of Mars” is considered negative, as it would be reminiscent of colonialism, and should be replaced by the phrase “sending people to Mars.”The report [by Helena Dalli] also advocates a form of positive discrimination. It suggests not convening working groups where only one gender is represented and thinking about inviting people from different ethnicities to events and photo shoots. Helena Dalli has already been criticized for the polemical campaign “Freedom with the Hijab” and the participation of Islamist associations in the campaign.
It will be fascinating to see if the EU Commissioner manages to make every single working group at the EU “gender diverse.” How will such a rule work in practice, particularly with the Muslims, whose unequal treatment of men and woman is legitimized in the Qur’an itself and who insist even on separating male from female worshippers in the mosque?
A verse in the Quran – 4:34 – gives husbands the right to “beat” their wives if they even suspect them of “disobedience.” Honor killings by Muslim men of their wives, daughters, sisters, and daughters-in-law – which may be prompted by a multitude of sins committed by females in the family, such as refusing to wear a hijab, or being seen talking to a non-Muslim boy – lead to very light punishment or in some cases to no punishment at all. The misogyny of Islam can also be seen in the fact that a Muslim woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man, and a daughter inherits only half what a son receives. Will Helena Dalli be able to force Muslim males to include females in their meetings? I suspect she will not even try. Her desire to impose restrictions of all kinds on “religions” ends up with her applying her humorless and bizarre restrictions to one religion only – Christianity.
As for doing away with the very word “Christmas,” the cast of Seinfeld, trying to be as ridiculous as possible, already provided some years ago a different word for that day, even less “Christian” than the word “holiday” (which derives from “holy day”); they called it “Festivus.” That should please Helena Dalli. A Festivus Tree, Festivus Lights, Festivus Presents, Festivus Cards. What’s not to like?
I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking that her idiocy will be rejected all those who have kept their wits about them, that the thinking world will rise up and laugh to scorn Ms./Mrs.Mr./Non-binary/Equal opportunity Helena Dalli. But she’s not just some Hyde Park Corner lunatic; she’s the EU Equal Opportunities Commissioner. In that post she can do – she’s already done — a lot of damage. She needs not just to be laughed at, but to be relieved of her position. Please, EU, put her, and therefore us, out of her misery.
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