|I heartily agree with your last sentence, LD, but I think your examples may not have helped you make your point. |
If people believe the issue is just about whether or not to slap a label on someone, they're missing the point. What matters is whether or not that label is meaningful in the context being discussed (as LD said) and whether or not that meaning has a derogatory connotation. Is it relevant to the conversation? Does its mention add clarity or understanding to a conversation? And is that understanding because of objective facts or because of stereotypes, innuendo, or prejudice?
If someone is searching a site for a person who speaks a certain language, it's pretty obvious that that's highly relevant and informative. However, I think that the OP's was one of those posts that may just be close to borderline and I didn't have a problem with it when I read it. Saying that someone is "old" could be a value judgment about them OR it could simply be a description of their behavior. I've had borrowers younger than me act "old" (and I don't think I do...), so I choose to not take offense at that. I don't think it was meant to insult them, but rather to help explain why the appointment took so long. That was probably also the reason for mentioning their language. [And yes, I believe this was a statement about language and not about race.] I've run into very similar situations with borrowers who spoke a language I don't understand, and yes, it made the appointment take longer.
We live in a time of changing attitudes (good and bad) and it may mean a little introspection on *everyone's* part is in order if we value a civil society. For some, that might mean a quick review and possible edit of our comments before hitting Post. [I do that constantly... ] For others, it might mean a quick re-evaluation of our reactions to someone else's comments. [I try to do that often, as well.]
That's my Saturday afternoon ramble for the week... [I hope I managed to keep this to something that doesn't belong over in JP. ]