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Sign of the Times

Wandering the aisles of Target over the weekend, I came across this curiosity: a section of products developed for the care of “multicultural hair.” What, pray tell, does that mean?

Turns out I’m not the only one confused. In its page on multicultural hair care, Sally Beauty trips all over itself in an effort to not assign certain hair types to certain ethnicities, saying, without a trace of irony, “Don’t look at your skin tone, take good [sic] look at your hair!”

OK. Then don’t call it “multicultural hair care.”

I shouldn’t be surprised. The English language has really taken a beating over the last 20–30 years. Diversity used to mean difference or unlikeness; now it seems to apply only to varying degrees of melanin content rather than actual differences in philosophy, experience, worldview, education, religion, or socio-economic background.

Hate is another one. To a growing number of individuals, it now means “expressing an opinion I don’t like.” Then there’s justice, the latest dilution of which must surely be vexing to the Super Friends.

So what’s the solution? I dunno. Everyone tells me that English changes, and I should just get on board with it. Maybe so. But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.



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