“They” is Not Amused

Raul Riesgo
Public relations expert featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. He has also been a news reporter for two Los Angeles area newspapers.

In the spirit of “You Just Can’t Make This Up,” I offer you California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s latest order. In her never-ending quest to be politically correct – and make sure all the rest of us are, too – she has mandated that in the Judiciary Committee, which she chairs, she is now to be addressed as “they.” Moreover, everyone communicating with the committee, in writing or in person, must use gender-neutral pronouns. So “they” and “them” are in, while he, she, him and her are OUT.

In practice this simply doesn’t work. “American Thinker” translated the senator’s bio for her and ended up thoroughly confused: “Jackson’s biography states that they is married to a retired superior court judge, and they has a they. This causes some confusion. Does ‘they has a they’ mean that [Jackson] has a they or that they and they have a they, and is the they a they or a they, or should the question even be asked?”

Among the multitude of other reasons why Jackson’s attempt at moral superiority should be rescinded immediately:

1. That pesky little thing called the First Amendment. But instead of recognizing an individual’s right to be addressed as they choose – which is the moral and right thing to do – Jackson has arrogantly chosen to force her will on all of us with compelled speech.

2. I do not want to be called, addressed or referred to as a “they,” but Jackson says in her committee I must be. So much for respecting individual choice.

3. Jackson is disrespecting the entire Latino population: By saying gender-specific pronouns are prejudicial, she is in effect calling the Spanish language (and every other language in which nouns have a grammatical gender) prejudiced. Did she check with the Latino Caucus or the Italian Caucus for their thoughts? What about those who come to the state capitol and testify in the language they are most confortable speaking?

4. What happens if someone testifying in front of her committee uses “he” and “she” instead of “they”? Do they get corrected? Reprimanded? Will their bill gets eliminated?

5. Jackson acknowledged her order would make her grammar teacher howl. Indeed, the classic writer’s guide “The Elements of Style,” in its chapter on Elementary Principles of Composition, specifies to “Use definite, specific, concrete language.” This sure isn’t that.

Sen. Jackson’s political correctness is ridiculous. She is disrespecting the vast majority of Californians with this heavy-handed maneuver. If “they” is truly the open-minded official “they” says “they” is, “they” will acknowledge “they” mistake and rescind “they” order. Let the people decide their own pronouns themselves.

Raul Riesgo is a public relations expert who has been featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. He has also been a news reporter for two Los Angeles area newspapers writing on variety of community and social topics. He authored a historical narrative on the development of the city of Pico Rivera, California. The book was featured on CNN’s Special Report “Latinos in America.”

Raul Riesgo is a public relations expert who has been featured on Spanish language news outlets Telemundo and Mundo Fox News discussing both political and Latino community issues. He has also been a news reporter for two Los Angeles area newspapers writing on variety of community and social topics. He authored a historical narrative on the development of the city of Pico Rivera, California. The book was featured on CNN’s Special Report “Latinos in America.”

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