Monday, April 24

NYT avoids the term FGM in recent Michigan story, claiming term is "culturally loaded"

Ten days ago the New York Times ran a story about a female Michigan doctor--apparently Muslim--for performing a procedure the United Nations calls "female genital mutilation" on two girls 7 and 8 years old.

"FGM" refers to a horribly painful procedure forced on young girls by their parents, in which part or all of the victim's genitals are removed for no medical benefit.  The purpose is solely to eliminate any pleasure from sex.  As if that's not horrible enough, in Africa it's done without anesthesia.

Because the ghastly torture is described in the emotion-free language of sociologists as a "traditional African practice," and "a ritual," liberals who one would expect would be raising hell about this are...unusually tolerant.  After all, one of the foundational beliefs of liberals is that all cultures are equal, and equally valid, right?


And sure enough, rather than using the term FGM, the Times story referred to the procedure as "genital cutting."

A Times reader noticed, and wrote to complain about the headline and body of the story.  The Times public editor responded to the letter by asking the story's editor, Celia Dugger--who has the title of "Health and Science editor"--to explain.

Dugger explained that she avoided the term "female genital mutilation" in the story out of concern that it would "widen the chasm" between Africa and the West.  "I began writing about this back in 1996," Dugger wrote back. "I decided...to call it genital cutting rather than mutilation."

"I never minced words [back then] in describing exactly what form of cutting was involved...and the terrible damage it did...but chose to use the less culturally loaded term, genital cutting," Dugger wrote.  "There's a gulf between [people] who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm."

Well thank you so much, Ms. Dugger.  It's so very, very considerate of you to use a less-graphic, less-upsetting term to describe what these two poor girls--and another estimated 500,000 in the U.S. alone--have suffered because of a hideous "traditional African practice."  After all, if you'd used the "culturally loaded term" some of your readers might have actually understood what was really happening, and might have been moved to some sort of action.

Nah, wouldn't happen.  After all, "all cultures are equal, and equally valid" has been a foundation of liberalism for decades.  Can't reject it now, eh?


Click here for full story in the Washington Free Beacon, April 24, 2017

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