How about “ONLY Caucasians are more at risk” or “ONLY Red-haired are more at risk”, or “ONLY Working-class are more at risk” or “ONLY overweight people are more at risk”?
See where we are coming from?
Who knew a simple word like “only” could have such impact? I mean, if that’s not a Freudian slip then I don’t know what is! We’ve always known we don’t count as much as the others really, but to hear it and to see it so blatantly is something else… The worst is that it’s being said all the time and written countless times.
No offence, they say… Well, excuse-me but yes, OFFENCE TAKEN!
That’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s not meant to be offensive at all but it is revealing of a subconsciously and pervasively ableist societal frame of mind. Think about it!
I suppose as long as you don’t belong to that segment of the population or as long as you don’t have someone you love who is part of it, then you simply cannot understand the forest hiding behind that tree, that word: “ONLY”
ONLY has a knack to divide, sometimes positively, sometimes not. People are relieved or upset depending on whether they’re in or out.
For example: “Disabled ONLY” for parking bays, toilets facilities, or seats/space in public transport. That’s when the disabled population feel acknowledged for the right reasons, valued and respected by that lawful convenience. They’re IN the bubble. Able-bodied people sometimes get annoyed but they know it’s the right thing to do, they’re OUT of that bubble. I would call it positive segregation.
But when you say that the Covid-19 ONLY affects the vulnerable, well, it FEELS like the disabled population (and all the others who fall in that category) is IN that bubble and may they stay in it, and the able-bodied population is VERY happy to be left OUT in that instance, “not too much to worry about then, hey?”. Now that is definitely NEGATIVE segregation.
So, let’s not use ONLY anymore.
“The vulnerable are more at risk”. That’s factual, not condescending.