Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

the speceist spellchecker

girl and goat poplar spring

Language reflects the society it is used in, and the English language definitely reflects the speceism that is the norm. Writing a couple letters to the editor today, I did a spell check in Word before sending them out. The spell check is really a spelling and grammar check, and it caught a phrase that I’d used. It wanted to correct a sentence where I’d been talking about the chimps my letter focused on, and used “who” to start the descriptive clause. The spell-checker thought I should use “that” instead of “who”.

I was taken aback. Animals are whos! They’re not “that”s. Except, of course, according to the law, where they are indeed given the status of “property.” And while people affectionately name their cars and boats and (for all I know) riding lawnmowers, those things, which are also property, are definitely “that”s and not “who”s. Animals, however…animals are sentient beings. They feel, they think, they have self-interest. They should not be property, they are not “that”s. They are whos. Word’s spell-checker is wrong.

Artist: One King Down
Song: Prey to Human Silence
Album: Bloodlus Revenge

We consume to satisfy
We do not kill to stay alive
As a race we torture and we kill
In the name of the God given will

Daily thousand of innocent animals are tortured and slaughtered because of a dollar value attached to their flesh and as humans acquired a taste for it
Conscious sentient beings are murdered in laboratories and factory farms
It’s because of this ignorance they suffer and die, they suffer – die
Caged and oppressed
Their cries remain suppressed
Falling victim to human violence
Falling prey to human silence

gary and pig at poplar spring

2 responses to “the speceist spellchecker

  1. RichBeBe December 12, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    Maybe one day all spell checkers and people will treat all living things as equal and not as property.

  2. Deb December 12, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    I read an interesting article in the NY Times a couple months ago about dictionaries and how they are a collection of words in common usage. Thus proper usage of a word is really the same thing as common usage. Interesting. And then think of 1984. Language is powerful. It does seem that when the day comes that a spell checker doesn’t try to correct us for calling animals “who” instead of “that”, society itself will have changed as well. I look forward to that day.

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