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Berkeley Student Accused of Stabbing Referred to as ‘They’ in Media Report

Berkeley Student Accused of Stabbing Referred to as ‘They’ in Media Report

Preferred pronouns…

If someone is accused of a violent crime, are we really obligated to use their preferred pronoun?

The Daily Caller reports:

Berkeley Media Felt The Need To Use Preferred Pronouns In Coverage Of Murder

A local newspaper insists on using the pronoun “they” in its coverage of the University of California, Berkeley student who is the prime suspect behind a fatal stabbing Friday night.

Pablo Gomez, Jr., 22, is suspected of stabbing a woman to death Friday in Berkeley and injuring another person during a different incident. He was arrested Saturday in Burbank.

Berkeleyside, a local independent news outlet with a liberal leaning, is on top of the story. After one of Gomez’s friends reached out to Berkeleyside, the outlet decided to use his preferred pronoun “they” throughout its coverage. The website decided to clarify this with a note in the middle of the story:

According to Gomez Jr.’s Facebook page, they are a UC Berkeley student who lives in Berkeley. [A friend contacted Berkeleyside early Saturday to say Gomez Jr. uses the pronoun “they.”]

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Comments

Uh,
“according to Gomez Jr.’s Facebook page, they are a UC Berkeley student who lives in Berkeley.”

Shouldn’t that be “they is” a UC Berkeley student?
Personally I prefer the pronoun sh-he-it for that student.

Just as the word “you” is used as both the second person singular and plural pronoun, it has long been acceptable to use the word “they” for both a singular and plural third person pronoun. In such cases, it would be correct to say “they are” the same as saying “you are”.
I think all of this uproar about needing new pronouns is silly, but it doesn’t help to go looking for tempests in teapots with normal grammar.

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