The only one of these that I knew was offensive was "Eskimo." If I'd thought about it, I'm sure I would have realized that "Spirit Animal" was likely a problem.
Maybe, but I'm not careful about saying 'God' or 'Saint' or how I use/depict the cross or other religious icons/terms. But maybe I should be?
If you enjoy learning more about language and its history I highly suggest listening to The Allusionist Podcast and The History of English Podcast. Both are fascinating and full of little stories like these.
Educational but probably also over analysing it a bit
Agreed. I think intent and usage change over time and context matters. The Eskimo example is a good one. If the Inuit (and there are other tribes that prefer other names) dislike the term then we should stop using it. It has a modern meaning and connotation and we should respect the wishes of others -especially when it costs so little. Doing so honors their humanity and our own humanity.
But when a phrase is so obscure that it isn't clear where the offense may exists -or when the explanation and usage is more nuanced, that is where I think the meaning has changed and it is safe to move on.
For example the cakewalk has a more nuanced history than presented here (where slaves were making fun of their masters) and master bedroom may have also originated in England where the master of the house (who had servants but not slaves) slept. I've read the etymology of hip hip hooray presented here before, the evidence is slight and it is hotly contested. A fascinating alternative explanation links hooray to oorah or hooah that the Marines/Army uses to a Slavic word for "kill", the idea being that when lined up in shield battles the hip hip was the call to push/thrust with the oorah/hooah/hooray being the response while pushing thrusting - not a much better/happier explanation. The point being that history is messy and rarely gives us clear answers.
The sad truth is that our language (and all languages) are full of these phrases and words. I just finished a book I highly recommend called "What the F" (trigger warning - it is full of taboo words). One big take away was that prohibition doesn't work - but education does. So I like the approach of giving a history of these words, but the only one I think has current relevance needing explanation is Eskimo.
Firstly, I am Grateful To Be Educated on these. I recognize many uses within my physical birth heritage tribe Here on Earth. I even went so far as to write these down so I have future reference and understanding in case I forget.
Secondly, I Must Express my Genuine Conflict over Political Correctness articles:
My ultra-sensitive, scared to say anything hurtful, Do No Harm Nature is All About This and learning these dark origins or hurtful pasts takes this All Very Seriously.
My Free Speech/AV is like: Does redacting language create unhealthy filtering and dangerous fear mentality; can we reclaim or ascend these words to New Levels of Meaning instead of completely annihilate and ostracize them?
My Mammoth was even trying to prevent me from adding this article into ReadUp due to A Genuine Conflict between sensitivity education and Free Speech.
Ultimately, I am glad I know the origins of each now and I appreciate that a few on the list offer alternatives without the trauma of pain behind them.
There are a lot of changes happening and at a speed that seems overwhelming. I personally feel grateful for this unveiling of prejudicial and hurtful biases. I feel as long as I am willing to learn, to remain open to the changes and have compassion be my overall guide, I can navigate this without fear. If I make a mistake, and I have, I am quick to apologize. I think most people appreciate the heart felt effort and that creates more of a connection, at least for me. Thanks for sharing.