Another triumph of human progress from the city that has been a pioneer for so long:
A US city has voted to ban a list of common words like “manhole” in a move opponents say is political correctness gone mad.
Berkeley City Council voted in favour of the controversial ban during a council meeting this week.
It means shortly, the Californian city’s municipal code will be changed, with around 35 words replaced with “gender-neutral language”.
On the hit list are masculine and feminine pronouns, which means “he” and “she” will be switched to “they” and “them” in an effort to “promote equality”.
Other gendered terms will change to specific nouns such as the teacher or the council member.
“Manhole” will be replaced with “maintenance hole”, “manpower” with “human effort” and “fraternal” with “social”.
Needless to say, manhole has got its name because it was a hole big enough for men to enter usually the sewage system. The emphasis being on “men”, since historically it’s been men wading waist-high in shit and despite the recent advances in feminism and the quest for equality between the sexes, strangely women are not rushing in to fill the municipal sanitation jobs. But that’s just an aside.
As it happens, the poverty rate in the Berkeley City area is 19.8 per cent, which is about 150 per cent of the national rate. Interestingly, 35 per cent of the poor are white and 30 per cent are Asian. About 1,000 out of the population of 120,000 are homeless, with the rate steadily increasing over the past 30 years – and with a 17 per cent increase in just two years to 2017. The violent crime rate in Alameda County, to which Berkeley belong, continues to be well above the state and the national average.
But, by all means, gender-neutral language will make everything better.