Ok, I’m a little upset tonight. I was doing my usual online research for today’s Word Wednesday – head case, in case you’re wondering – when I came across this entry at Merriam-Webster:
Examples of head case:
- Her brother’s a real head case.
- <while serving in the military hospital’s psychiatric unit, he got to observe a wide variety of head cases>
Whoa, let’s talk a look at that again “while serving in the military hospital’s psychiatric unit, he got to observe a wide variety of head cases”. Is anyone else as offended as I am? This is something I would have expected from a peer-run resource like Urban Dictionary, but from a highly credited and respected resource for over 150 years? I don’t think so.
I know I’ve found some pretty offensive references to mental illness, heck, I’ve probably used some without being aware of how offensive I was being, but this takes the cake for me.
Mental illness of any type is not fun, but those people who have served our countries, who have stood on the wall so we could sleep soundly, and come home with their minds broken deserve to be treated with much more respect (of course, so does anyone who suffers from mental illness). I expect more from professional resources such as Merriam-Webster or Oxford Dictionaries. I expect them to be a leaders in the usage of language, not followers.
I spent some time searching for an email contact to lodge a complaint but could not find one. Instead I sent a message to their Facebook page. If you share my feelings regarding this example I urge you to send a message via Facebook as well, hopefully we can encourage them to change this wording.
**It’s getting late, I’m tired and now I’m keyed up about this Merriam-Webster thing so I will finish Word Wednesday tomorrow.