CDC sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong

With Covid-19, the fair-minded among us might feel that the Centers for Disease Control has fallen short of Nobel caliber performance.

Illustration by the Financial Times

There were wildly exaggerated estimates, there were advisories that were issued and promptly reversed, there were false alarms, and so on. 

And yet, praise God, amid the epidemic, busy CDC bureaucrats found time to compile an 11-page list of words and terms that should be shunned.

Before I tear apart evaluate the list, let me highlight the CDC’s belief in effective communication: “Plain language makes it easier for everyone to understand and use health information. Although plain language is a familiar idea, many organizations don’t use it as often as they should.”

How can I put this?

You know when the magician holds up his left hand and waggles his fingers? Your eyes are drawn to the moving fingers.

That’s when his right hand slides unseen in your pocket.

It’s called distraction and that is what CDC is doing here: claiming to do one thing — creating plain language — while doing precisely the opposite. The “helpful” list reaches far beyond health issues, into social issues that are outside the CDC’s area of supposed expertise. 

The distraction is not a new trick. It’s been going on for decades, with the Politically Correct tide now reaching flood stage. We are told to address some individuals as plural, that men can give birth, that white people are irredeemably racist. If we don’t join in the wacky groupthink, we are told there is something wrong with us. 

Sadly, the Associated Press becomes a drum major in the PC parade by twisting itself into knots to find euphemisms for words that are clearly understood. I wrote about this once before on my blog.

My complaint that changing, for example,  “ex-con” to “returning citizen” is not plain English. It is an attempt to obfuscate, to blur reality to meet some hidden social agenda. In a misguided attempt to avoid “stigmatizing” those who have done bad things, we are to sacrifice the truth, distort reality, and basically whitewash their past. 

That may be D.A. Larry Krasner’s idea of social justice, but it should repel any journalist with a commitment to the truth, warts and all. It should offend anyone who likes unvarnished truth, and plain facts.

I will guide you through the fog spread by the CDC. If you don’t believe me — because some of this mental drek is unbelievable — check the link I provided above. The CDC has evolved from covering your mouth with a mask, to shutting your mouth.

Why is this an issue? 

If the government can control speech, it can control thought. 

Proponents of Political Correctness claim it makes for a kinder, gentler society. In reality, it makes for a society in which people are afraid to speak honestly, directly, frankly. It creates a suffocating fear of harming someone’s, anyone’s feelings, as if being polite was a higher value than honesty. Freedom of speech includes the right to be rude.

Most of the CDC’s suggestions, when analyzed, are laughable to the rational mind.

Let’s jump into the fetid bog and skim some of the suggestions. 

CDC asks us to avoid “disabled, afflicted, handicapped, confined to a wheelchair” and “differently abled.”

I have to tell you, “differently abled” was yesterday’s euphemism to replace “disabled.”  It had a very short shelf life before falling into disfavor.

Instead of perfectly clear terms, the CDC pushes us to try these: “People with a disability, people with an intellectual or developmental disability, people who use a wheelchair.”

Take a look. All it does is add the word “people” at the front end, plus a few more words.

Instead of “drug-users/addicts/drug abusers, alcoholics/abusers, persons who relapsed, smokers,” CDC would substitute “persons who use drugs/people who inject drugs, persons with substance use disorder, persons with alcohol use disorder, persons in recovery from substance use/alcohol disorder, people who smoke.”

See? Not “smokers,” but “people who smoke.” 

See the difference? 

Instead of “underserved people/communities/the underserved,” which I see in the paper every day, CDC prefers, “people who are underserved by [specific service/resource].

By the same token, why say “homeless people” when you can say “people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.” As opposed to sheltered homelessness, I guess.

Instead of “poor people,” let’s say “people with self-reported income in the lowest income bracket.”

I can hear you say I am making this up — “people with self-reported income in the lowest income bracket”? Really? 

That’s why I provided the link. Look it up yourself.

Replace “mentally ill” (a step up from crazy) with “people with a mental illness.”

Now we get to “non-U.S.-born persons,” which I did not know was a health issue.

No, non, nyet to “illegals, illegal immigrants, illegal aliens, illegal migrants, foreigners, the foreign-born.”

Foreigners is now a slur?

CDC would launder language (and thought) by putting these word-salad concoctions out there: “People (here we go again) with undocumented status, mixed-status households, immigrant, (which erases the concept of legality), migrant, asylee or asylum seeker, refugee or refugee populations, non-U.S.-born persons/foreign-born persons.” Wait! I thought “foreign-born” was banned? 

When you are making this crap up, you’ve got to pay attention. This verbal sludge seems like the work of a committee of sociology grad students at Brown University.

Oh — I mean people who are advanced students at Brown University.

Let’s keep wading ahead and find out what to replace “elderly, senior, frail, fragile” with.

That would be “Older adults or elders.” So “elders” is OK, but “elderly” is not.

I’m close to 80 and find elderly or senior all right, preferable only to decrepit, dinosaur and fogey,

Instead of “rural people” or “frontier people” (you see that term every day), go for hicks (sorry, I couldn’t resist a joke), “people who live in rural/sparsely populated areas.” Carrying U.S. Census reports seems like a good idea. 

If you are part of the nonbinary, non-cisgender community, you will be happy to learn “homosexual” is now out, but “queer” is in. And I remember when “queer” was a slur.

CDC also does not like gendered pronouns, like him/her/he/she, etc. This confuses me. Kaitlyn Jenner demands to be recognized as she, but CDC say to avoid personal pronouns. There’s a whole bunch more for the LGBTQIA2 (I am not making this up) community, but I want to race (no pun intended) to racial terms, again being some kind of health or disease issue.

Generally, don’t refer to people as their race ancestry, says CDC, such as Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Whites (with a capital W!), American Indians, etc. Also kicked to the curb are Native American, Eskimo (Inuit is OK?), Oriental, Afro-American, Negro, Caucasian, the Black community.

Instead, add the word “persons” after every group and that will make it honky dory: Asian persons, Black or African-American person, White persons, and so on.

Look — when a term like “the Black community” is somehow objectionable, you must know you are not dealing with sensible persons.

Or persons who have left their brains on the floor.

17 thoughts on “CDC sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong”

  1. Stu– what has truly baffled me is how the CDC has set policy on evictions. Is failing to pay rent a disease?

    You would not fare/fair well in politics. Particularly, in Washington D.C.. Come to think of it. I wouldn’t do well in Harrisburg.
    The CDC has once again justified their salary with benefits. Where else can you put out crap like this and be paid handsomely ? BTW Monday is ? Labor Day ? and a paid holiday for all government workers. ( oxymoron intended )
    Then there’s always my belief. People today and for the past many years, have folded under the weight of the politicians. Most of us have become sheep. We just go along with what we are being fed. No complaints. No worries. No thoughts Or should I say, most of them ?

  3. Maybe if the CDC concentrated on what is best during this pandemic instead of getting so political, more people would be vaccinated.

  4. These political eunuchs are pervasive in government from  Washington on down. They are all bullies. That’s how PC is able to survive.  Including the elected and appointed. And as we’ve witnessed the private sector has willingly followed suit.  Will a change in 22 and 24 make a difference or is this just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg?”

    I wish I knew???

  5. Are ‘people of color’ colored people? Is a horse’s ass now a ‘person representing an equine’s posterior’? Is someone who is blind now a ‘person unable to keep from walking into a wall’? I turned 81 today (I used to kid my mother about going into labor on Labor Day), and I am NOT old, I am NOT elderly, but I am ‘a person who has achieved an accumulation of years.’ Now, what is the word for horseshit? I think it is CDC.

    1. Happy Birthday, Vince!
      I turned 68 on August 31st, and, yes, heard lots of jokes through the years about my mother going into labor around Labor Day.
      I was forced into retirement (which is to say “laid off”) at age 58, after more than 25 years
      with the same firm–and glowing reviews!!!
      I was told–over and over again, by multiple recruiters that I had simply “aged out of the job market”.
      I got whatever short-term gigs I could, plus volunteering as a guide at Laurel Hill Cemetery.
      Eventually I began to collect Social Security benefits.
      Am I old? Yes, in terms of statistics. I can collect Social Security, after all.
      But–I am extremely aware that I am older than most “residents” (as we call them) of Laurel Hill
      would ever be. It’s humbling.
      I am old. I am experienced.
      And–as the expression goes; “When you are bleeding, seek out the one with the scars”.

  6. How did we go from banning the term colored people and preferring to use people of color as a description. What’s the difference?

      1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
        I’m really surprised that you ( and Stu ) haven’t mentioned some brainiat (?) who wrote a paper for their masters’ or doctorate on this subject.
        Who is ‘colored’? Aren’t we all ‘colored’? The white people come in all different shapes, sizes and – dare I, ‘colors’. We have the Lilly whit folk that stay out of strong sunlight, else they turn red. Then you have the variety of Italian ( Sicilian ) and other Mediterranean folk, who are every shade of tan. The Europeans and the English run the whole spectrum of white. The South Americans do their fare share of staying on the dark side of white. Less we forget, the Native Americans. Bronze to almost red.
        We are all “colored’ white folk !

  7. Seems the CDC is the mouthpiece now for the American Marxist movement.Lying and causing confusion by changing speech is only one of their major game plans.The solution is do not listen to them.

  8. The thing is we no longer call a spade a spade. Everything has to be toned down. To be socially (politically acceptable). DISGUSTING

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