Watching My Language in 2017

In my opinion.  Some.  Sometimes. Often. It seems to me.

Those are just a few words and phrases that I intend to deploy more often in social media posts in 2017.  I am doing this in the interest of world peace.

It seems to me that recently I’ve been reading more and more absolute statements on twitter, Facebook, and even in my newsfeed.  Statements such as ‘Men enjoy football.’ ‘Hispanics have a higher tolerance for spicy food. ‘Women love to be told they are beautiful.’ ‘Christians don’t believe in evolution.’

Those sorts of statements irritate me immensely. And when they are preceded by ‘all’ as in ‘All women love to be told they are beautiful,’ then I become irrationally angry and have to turn off my computer and walk away.  The same is true for ‘always’.  ‘Men are always more prone to interrupt than women.’  Grr.  Bring on the Flame War!

Almost all statements that have ‘Always’ in them are untrue.(See what I did there?)

I think it’s natural that when we are discussing a topic with friends, we make generalities in our language choices and trust that people will understand what we are trying to say.  But when we are discussing something in as wide a forum as the internet, absolute statements just invite trolls or even rational people like myself to respond angrily.

In one thread, I recently read something like: ‘Studies show that American women don’t find Asian men attractive.’ Now I am sure that the author intended to say that ‘studies show that X percentage of American women don’t find Asian men attractive.’ Or something like that.  I’m sure the person reporting it didn’t mean to imply that there are no American women of Asian descent. Or tell us that the moment an Asian woman becomes naturalized to any country in the Americas, she finds Asian men unattractive.  But it’s writing like that that make me crazy.

It’s one thing to be sitting at a table with friends and to laugh and say something like, “Well, Democrats are like that!” Or “What did you expect from someone raised in a conservative household?”  It’s another thing entirely to post something like that in any social media.

Over the last few months, as we saw national political leaders become more active in social media, and as we witnessed the impact of fake news stories, it came to me that we could all benefit from more accuracy in the language we use in social media. So.  I’m sharing with you my first New Year’s Resolution.  I will avoid absolute statements in my social media!

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