The thing about language is that context drives meaning. The meaning of that context then drives how we interpret and digest what the language is telling us. For example: if I said “alternative archaeology,” some of you would immediately think “ancient aliens,” “lost civilization,” “life implanted on earth.” But, if I put it into a context that infers a different meaning around the two words “alternative archaeology,” then you as the audience do not even go in the direction of “kooky science.” You instead define the terms based on how they are being presented in the sentence.
So, let’s talk about UFOs.
A UFO is typically defined as an unidentified flying object. Inference from previous contexts leads to alien spacecraft that people get taken up into and given a butt probe before being beamed back into a trailer park in Nebraska amidst swamp gas (because there is so much swamp gas in Nebraska…). But, if I’m walking through the living room, and my daughter launches a bouncy ball from across the room, I don’t see the action of her bouncing said ball, and it goes flying across my path at speeds my brain cannot immediately comprehend due to the environment that my brain is in at the moment, I see a UFO. The ball knocking a glass over and the glass shattering then defines the object that I will proceed to throw away in an angry huff leaving a nine-year-old broken hearted and temporarily hating her father.
But, let’s say I am walking across a parking lot at 5 pm and look up to see a long, silver shaft hanging in the sky for a few seconds before it zooms off silently. I have seen a UFO. I am crae crae.
Because I have defined the same phenomena with two different objects in two different settings, the term has changed based on where and what the object was. Maybe I saw a new vibrator flying across my path in the parking lot and I did not hear it land on the pavement. Maybe I saw a reflection of something as a car went by me. Maybe I saw nothing and my brain for a few seconds glitched and showed me something that wasn’t there (my daughter would love that idea in the case of the ball).
Or maybe I saw exactly what the term was originally meant to describe: an object in the sky that I could not identify. No aliens, no swamp gas, no weather balloons.
Here’s my point: the issue isn’t really about UFOs, it’s about how we define terms and connect specific feelings and prejudices to them. At a moment in time like this one, we tend to connect the extremely negative to a group and how they interact with that negative when they themselves have no responsibility in the creation and definition of the negative. An person of Asian decent did not create COVID. They are not more prone to it. They are not secretly plotting your white doom. So don’t be a douche and humiliate a poor college girl born in North Carolina because she inherited physical Asian attributes. Not all Asians are Chinese, not all Chinese are communists, and not all communists want to take over the world through giving you a super cold.