People Are Whos, Not Whats

Filed under:Language Barrier — posted by Anwyn on November 19, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

Been going on a long time, this abuse has, and shows no signs of slowing down. I see it in print, in emails, in marketing materials; hear it on TV; hear it in conversation: “People that want to attend …” “A person that went to the party said …” “The youth that went on the trip …”

STOP IT. People are people WHO do things. They are not objects THAT do things. The people who want to attend are people who will not be happy to say that the youth who went on the trip were objectified in the last issue of the newsletter. The team that won, however, or the company that weathered the downturn are all right, even though the team whose mascot was banned or the company whose stock went down are pretty huffy that teams and companies can be both whos and whats. People are not bi-statist. They are always and forever Whos. Don’t grinch them into Whats.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace