Words, mas­tered

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - OPINION -

Re Toronto School Board To Do Away With ‘Chief’ In Job Ti­tles (Oct. 12): Canada must be fast be­com­ing the most lu­di­crously po­lit­i­cally cor­rect na­tion on Earth. Now the word “chief” is to be erased from job ti­tles by a school board, even though no one has com­plained (yet!). We al­ready have the word “master” sus­pended and likely to be per­ma­nently re­moved as the ti­tle of the head of Massey Col­lege, even though this term has been used for cen­turies in academia.

The Toronto District School Board’s sug­gested “man­ager” or “ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer” in place of “chief” is mean­ing­less in iden­ti­fy­ing an in­di­vid­ual’s po­si­tion in the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s hi­er­ar­chy. “Chief`” de­notes “head.” It is not ex­clu­sive to in­dige­nous tribes. “Master” is also one of many words used in nu­mer­ous con­texts.

At this rate, the govern­ment should form a Depart­ment of Un­ac­cept­able Words, with a man­date to spend as long as it takes to erase ev­ery con­tentious word in all of the many languages spo­ken in Canada to en­sure that no one, not even one cit­i­zen, can feel of­fended. (As a byprod­uct, it would em­ploy many more pub­lic ser­vants!) – Tom Singer, Burling­ton, Ont.

A let­ter writer sug­gested that elim­i­nat­ing the ti­tle “master” at the Univer­sity of Toronto’s Massey Col­lege would be a dis­ser­vice to the mem­ory of those who served in this role. Not so: It would be a recog­ni­tion that the lan­guage of men, so prom­i­nent in the univer­sity, may have had its day (Judg­ment, Re­sponse, Oct. 4).

“Master” is a ti­tle that has racist con­no­ta­tions and it also gen­er­ally refers to men. As a child, I never re­ceived let­ters ad­dressed to Master Mary. Only boys were “Master.”

Re­gret­tably, ef­forts in the 1990s by some uni­ver­si­ties to al­low women to grad­u­ate with de­gree des­ig­na­tions other than “Bach­e­lor” and “Master” faded. How­ever, fi­nally many fe­male pro­fes­sors who leave full-time po­si­tions can achieve the sta­tus of “emerita.” The un­for­tu­nate events at Massey may in­ad­ver­tently en­able us to move into 2017. – Mary Valen­tich, pro­fes­sor emerita, Univer­sity of Cal­gary

Based on re­cent news re­gard­ing po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness at the Univer­sity of Toronto, Massey Col­lege, and the Toronto District School Board, I have con­cluded that our ed­u­ca­tional bu­reau­cracy has been taken over by zom­bies.

I sug­gest we ap­point the provost of the Univer­sity of Toronto, the master (sic) of Massey Col­lege, and the chair of the Toronto District School Board to lead Toronto’s an­nual Zom­bie Walk. – Mer­lin Don­ald, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus, Queen’s Univer­sity

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