Thursday, October 16, 2008

Upset

I work with a staunch Native American supporter. Yesterday at lunch, we were talking about the noise level for passing period during one of our classes (we are teaching, others are passing). I said, "By the time they get to our end of the hall, they are a pack of screaming banshees."

At which point my friend corrected me, asking that I not use words that might offend a group of people. Of course, I apologized immediately, not wanting to offend anyone, but added, "I thought it was a mythical creature, not a group of people." She said that may be the case, she was just sensitive to it. No problem.

But it bugged me all day, because I don't want to use phrases in my regular lexicon that are offensive. Turns out I'm in the clear:

OED:

banshee |ˈban sh ē|
noun
(in Irish legend) a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house : the little girl dropped her ice cream and began to howl like a banshee | [as adj. ] a horrible banshee wail.

*sigh of relief*
ORIGIN late 17th cent.: from Irish bean sídhe, from Old Irish ben síde ‘woman of the fairies.’

4 comments:

  1. No offense to your co-worker, but people should really be sure they have a reason to be offended before they get their dander up.

    Really, banshees? Should we beware of calling trick-or-treaters sugar-amped goblins, for fear of offending someone? (either goblins or candy tasters?)

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  2. Political correctness is insidious- we (all of us) are so ridiculously oversensitive and make everyone else responsible for how we feel. Grow up America!

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  3. Oh, for dog's sake. Next time, slip the word "niggardly" into your conversation.

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  4. Hahahahaha! I like Kitt.

    Yeah, WTheck with not reacting to a word you don't know?

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