“No one gets angry at a mathematician or a physicist whom he or she doesn’t understand, or at someone who speaks a foreign language, but rather at someone who tampers with your own language.”
― Jacques Derrida
In my experience there is nothing mere about semantics. Words are powerful symbols that many live by. You can call the same entity an angelic being or a demonic force and by doing so alienate a good portion of the people reading. You can say someone or something is retarded and some would nod their heads along with you while any who either had a developmental delay or who loved or supported them would be offended. Something similar would happen by using the word gay. We all have terms that offend us, words which we are quick to see as victimizing no matter the intent behind them. Words which tend to cause either otherness or offence based on a given reality tunnel. If you have never met any one who was gay and had no real experience with people who are classified as developmentally delayed than when you hear those terms so offensive to some, it might as well be a foreign language. When they are words that have been used to describe you or someone you know or care for then it becomes personal. The above are examples. There are many others depending on paradigm, people known and phrases used. Words do matter just not the same words to all people.
Click on images to see full-sized:
Red Dreams by G A Rosenberg
Moving Through the Machinery by G A Rosenberg