Only seventy years ago, the World Book Encyclopedia read like this:
North Carolina was one of the pioneer states of the South in the systematic care of defective and dependent classes. A state board of charities controls charitable and correctional institutions. In 1925 the control of the state prison department was given to a board of seven directors appointed by the governor and the senate. The institutions include hospitals for the insane at Morganton, Raleigh, and Goldsboro (colored); and institution for the feeble-minded at Kinston; a tuberculosis sanitarium at Sanitarium; the state prison at Raleigh; a colored orphanage at Oxford; Stonewall Jackson Training School for white boys at Concord; a home and industrial school for girls; and Morrison Training School for Negro Boys.
The terminology used and the assumption that tuberculosis, insanity, and crime were all pretty much the same problem seem terrifically offensive to most people today, but this was no doubt the height of cultural sensitivity at the time. Do you think currently-fashonable PC jargon will hold up any better over the next seven decades? Will people find ridiculous acronyms like “GLBTQ” or unweildy and imprecise terms like “communites of color” any more acceptable? I have my doubts…
I do rather like the idea of being able to say “feeble-minded” in an academic setting, though….