The Point: He, She, Them, They

Recently, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, chair of the California Senate Judiciary Committee, banned the pronouns “he” and “she” during committee hearings. As one web commenter put it, “I’m not plural, so don’t call me ‘they.’ I have a gender, so don’t call me ‘it.’ I’m female, and you will please use the correct pronoun.”

Apparently, Ms. Hanna-Beth Jackson found it difficult to stick to her own new rule. “The world is a different place,” she opined. “My grammar teacher is long gone, and we won’t be hearing from her.” Then she clumsily corrected herself: “— from them! From they!”

Well how many grammar teachers did you have, Senator?

Men and women are unavoidable biological realities. Human language has always reflected that reality. Trying to use language to counter reality can leave you tongue-tied.

The first test of a worldview is whether it corresponds to the real world. If it doesn’t, it can’t be lived.


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