Doctors sometimes have to be blunt when they talk to patients. But clear, concise, meaningful language is just too much for the American Medical Association, which has decided to go 100 percent politically correct on doctors’ use of words.
As Matt Bai writes, the AMA has gone full George Orwell:
The long list of words and phrases the AMA now proscribes includes “marginalized communities,” “morbidly obese,” “the homeless,” “inmates,” “individuals,” “ethnic groups” and “racial groups,” and anything that could be related to violent imagery, such as “target communities” or “tackle issues.”
In their place, doctors are now advised to use terms such as “groups that are struggling against economic marginalization,” “people with severe obesity,” “people who are experiencing homelessness” and so on.
Also expunged are the words “Caucasian,” “minority,” “vulnerable,” “white paper,” “blackmail,” “blackball” and “slave.” (Public service: If your doctor feels the need to use any of those last ones in the course of an exam, maybe find another doctor.)
If that sounds like an April Fool’s joke…it’s not. The AMA is very, very serious about harmful words. And if offers examples on the proper way to speak to patients:
For instance, you might be tempted to say something like: “For too many, prospects for good health are limited by where people live, how much money they make, or discrimination they face.”
What you should say is: “Decisions by landowners and large corporations, increasingly centralizing political and financial power wielded by a few, limit prospects for good health and well-being for many groups.” I swear I’m not making this up.
Regrettably, he’s not. The entire AMA handout on “Language, Narrative and Concepts” can be found here. It’s disheartening reading.
And for reference, here’s George Orwell’s famous essay “On Politics and the English Language.”