"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
August 10, 2015
It's Un-American to Say "American"
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Many long years ago, when I went off to Brigham Young University, my mother warned me that people were going to make fun of me. She didn’t say that people would make fun of me because I was not a Mormon (which, at the time, I wasn’t). She said people would make fun of me because I was a Southerner.

Southerners did not have the best of reputations. They still don’t. Although being from New Orleans has some prestige, being from Louisiana does not. At least we can always say we are not from Mississippi. Being from Mississippi is rock bottom as far as being a laughing-stock is concerned.

Then again, every state has to have a nearby state that can be ridiculed. When we lived in Utah, it was the potato farmers in Idaho that were the object of scorn. Now, we East Virginians look down our noses at those in the west.

But the whole South has a bad reputation for being red of neck. Maybe it’s the way we talk. Maybe it’s that we always end up on the bottom of every survey for education or quality of life. Whatever it is, the rest of the country can point their fingers at those who live in the red states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. We are objects of ridicule, and we know it.

The thing is, when something really stupid happens in this country, it generally doesn’t originate from down South. Usually it comes from California, the birthplace of political correctness. But now, some granola-chomping moron in New Hampshire (and here I intend no offense to granola-eaters or to morons everywhere) has decided to one-up California once and for all.

New students to the University of New Hampshire this year (and you’ll notice that I deftly avoided saying the word “freshmen,” because “freshmen” is now a four-letter word) have been given a list of words they should not say — words that are intrinsically bad. Hurtful. Not politically correct.

Fluffy found out about it in this article. The document has gotten such big press that the offending web page has now been pulled, and students can now allegedly say these horrible words, but just the idea that they could not until the rest of America came down on them was pretty darn chilling.

Think, for a minute, that New Hampshire is the “Live Free or Die” state. Now contemplate that people who lived in this state of liberty were not being allowed to say words like “American.” What happened to freedom of speech in the “Live Free or Die” state?

But I digress. Before you can be as outraged as I was, let me give you a list of some of the words that the University of New Hampshire outlawed as being offensive: 

  • American

  • Mothering

  • Fathering

  • Illegal alien

  • Caucasian

  • Homeless

  • Poor person

  • Obese

  • Overweight

  • Healthy

  • Orientals

  • Freshmen

This was not all. In order to make sure no other “hurtful” language was used, students were referred to a 4,750-word web page. Can you imagine having to memorize all the ins and outs of a 4,750-word web page just to make conversation?

If you delve deeper into the web page, even the word “disabled” is hurtful. People are supposed to say, “Person who is wheelchair mobile.”

As a professional “person who is wheelchair mobile,” I am too busy wheeling myself around to waste all that air referring to myself with all those syllables. It takes too much work! You do-gooders should try wheeling yourselves around with your arms and then referring to yourselves with all those syllables. You will quickly see why I refer to myself as a gimp.

(If you don’t like referring to me as a gimp, you may call me Kathy. Or, if we are not on first-name terms, you may call me, “Kathy, queen of the universe.” But do not dare refer to me as a “person who is wheelchair mobile,” or I will use that wheelchair to roll over your feet. Then you may be a “person who is wheelchair mobile,” too.)

But hey. At least I’m not a poor person. If I were a poor person, I would have to start referring to myself as a “person with low economic status related to my education, occupation and income.” Sheesh. I’ve barely gotten out of the hospital from shortness of breath. That would put me right back in the hospital again.

There are some people in this world who are stupid because they have not been given the chance to better themselves. Many people where I grew up were not given the opportunity for a higher education, but they did the best they could. Nevertheless, they knew the important things. They knew how to honor the flag. They served their country. They prayed to God in the way they had been taught by their parents.

On the other hand, there some people in this world who are stupid because they choose to be. They have been given a little intelligence, and they decide they are smarter than everyone else. Then they think it is their right to tell the rest of the world how to think. The people behind the political correctness movement are people just like that.

The Book of Mormon talks about those people, and says they get their pride from Satan himself. Frankly, I am not surprised. This is what that passage says:

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. (2 Nephi 9:28)

Mother was right. When I got to Brigham Young University, there were people who ridiculed me for being a Southerner. There weren’t many, fortunately, although one history professor was merciless. After I finished his class, I avoided him in the future.

It is easy to make fun of Southerners. We talk funny — or at least, I did at first. I got it beaten out of me pretty quickly.

But all these years later, I’m proud of my roots. I come from a part of the country that is solid in its love for God and country. Louisiana may not have “Live Free or Die” as its motto, and the state song may be “You Are My Sunshine,” but the people where I grew up know what’s important. Love for God and country are in my DNA. I wish that were the case in the rest of the fifty states.


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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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