Why have people in rad politics/social justice discussions started using ‘folks’ instead of ‘people’ (especially “trans folks”)? I seriously don’t get it. The only explanation I’ve ever heard is to avoid excluding otherkin, but I don’t really think that completely explains it especially in the contexts I’ve seen it. Seems to me that ‘folk’ connotes human-ness just as much as ‘people’…
I always thought it was a dialect/slang thing, not a politics thing? it’s like, a US South thing to say, apparently. If I had to name a reason why people who aren’t from the US South have started using it, it would be simply the search for synonyms for “people”. You wouldn’t think “people” would be a word that would be particularly conspicuous or bug you that much, that it would be like “said” or something and fade into the background. but actually I don’t think we use it that much? We tend to use more specific nouns like “women” or “doctors” or “family” or whatever, rather than “[adjective] people”. so when you have a group for whom specific nouns have historically been used in a way that’s dehumanising, (“gays”, “transgenders”, “spastics”, etc), and people start referring to them as “_______ people” to avoid those associations, it stands out. people people people people. When I catch myself saying and especially writing “folks” it’s usually for this reason, anyway. I try not to do it because I find it a bit cutesy coming from me.
Yeah I thought it was just American slang that a few people in Australia had adopted for some reason, but I seriously don’t think I’ve seen anything but “trans folks” in any event write-up or call-for-submissions style thing in Aus for aaaages. Like to the point that it feels like somewhere along the line it’s been decided that saying ‘people’ is totez probo and we’ve all gotta use this cutesy, othering term if we wanna be radical.
so “people” is “clinical”, apparently