The English Language can sometimes be used in a subtle way which is derogatory to cats. This sort of language is used by people who dislike cats. They may use it without really being aware of what they’re saying. The meaning and motivation is hidden. One example is a recent headline used in a CBS news story which states, “Why Does a Pennsylvania City Smell like Cat Urine”.
In my opinion, this is the language of prejudice against cats or a bias against cats. It is quite subtle but it is critical of the domestic cat. More importantly, actually, the headline is critical of cats that are allowed outside and particularly stray or feral cats. In short, it is a subtle and indirect criticism of feral cats and there are already enough of those sorts of people who are quite frankly ignorant of the entire feral cat situation.
I don’t like the language of prejudice. There is no need for it. The headline could have been, “Why Does This Pennsylvania City Smell of Urine?”, or “Why does This Pennsylvania City Smell Bad?” or “Why Does This Pennsylvania City Smell of Dog Feces?” (prejudice against dogs).
The first two would have been a neutral headline. There is no need to mention the cat although the reason why the cat was mentioned is because cat urine smells very strongly and is persistent but despite that there was no need to mention it because I can be certain that the bad smell that pervades a certain part of this Pennsylvania city, New Castle, is neither as strong nor a persistent as the smell of cat urine.
It just made a more punchy headline to the detriment of the domestic and stray cat. I’m not a politically correct person. I don’t like to criticise people for using prejudiced language but I see too much of it, on the internet, in relation to the cat. It is a leaking-out from a person of a dislike for the cat through the use of the English language.
Examples of the use of the language of prejudice in areas which are not concerned with domestic or stray cat are, for example, “you’re pretty strong for a girl” and “male nurse” and “black lawyer”. The first one indicates that girls are weak which is a derogatory comment made in a very subtle way. The other indicates that nurses are rarely male and lawyers are rarely black. Once again, by implication, they are derogatory remarks. They conjure up images which are not constructive to a more cohesive society. They are prejudiced. They are barriers to men being nurses and black people being lawyers.
The language of prejudice is used all the time and everywhere. As I said, it leaks out of a prejudiced person without them almost realising it. And probably the most difficult thing to admit is that we are all either prejudiced or at least potentially prejudiced because it is very difficult indeed to maintain a totally unbiased neutral position in day-to-day living; this is the human condition. We need to be aware of this.
As my role is to defend the domestic and stray cat I have to criticise people especially journalists who use prejudiced English language. If a person doesn’t like cats they should say it and explain why. We can then put them straight 😉 .
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