Call It What You Will

I read an article in the paper last week that would have made go “Hmm” had I not been struck speechless, or even hmmless. The U. S. Department of Justice will no longer refer to people who have completed sentencing and released from prison as a “felon” or “convict.” Instead the terms “person who committed a crime” or “individual who was incarcerated.” will be used. The announcement included the comment that the newly forbidden words are disparaging. Hmm, we are talking about convicted felons – I’m sorry, I mean we are talking about people who committed crimes, aren’t we?

I have to expand my daily reading to include papers from around the world. I see the headlines and whatever American editors determine are newsworthy enough for U.S. media to re-report, but what might I be missing. Is the appellation of formerly incarcerated individuals high on justice departments’ priority lists worldwide?

If it catches on it will be the biggest “they said” since “they said” someone is a person of interest when the police want to talk to said someone about a crime and that it has nothing to do with being interested in someone. This person is not to be confused with a suspect whom police would want to talk to about a crime or a material witness who is presumed to have information about a crime. It seems that one shouldn’t call a suspect a suspect until all suspicion is removed in the favor of certainty less the person of interest is disparaged in the event some doubt remains.

It all reminds me of another article I saw a while ago about some organization now using the term “companion” rather than “mistress” when referring to a prominent person’s person of interest.  Now that would be disparaging. Not being a companion, nor even a mistress. Being said to hang around with someone who passes for prominent. Now that may be most disparaging.

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?



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