Poor Benedict Cumberbatch.
A little while ago he ignorantly used a word that isn't polite at the moment (though in the UK it was polite not so very long ago). Anyway, now there's a huge fuss. He's had to apologise, and people are saying that he's lost his chance of a Oscar (hmm...does that even begin to make sense? I thought Oscars were given for being good at making films...).
What did Benedict Cumberbatch say? He said this: 'I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the USA] than in the UK, and that's something that needs to change.'
(That's from the Travis Smiley PBS show in the USA.)
Now, it's plain that Benedict Cumberbatch believes that actors of colour (an expression apparently not rude at the moment) should have more opportunities in Britain. He was expressing support for them. Trying to help.
But even people who agree with him have made it their business to attack him. I do think that a polite explanation would have been useful, and even in this case necessary; but outrage and hysteria is no help to anyone.
Heaven knows, I believe words are important.
But, look, friendship and helping and understanding are more important still.
Word To Use Today: gosh, this is a minefield, isn't it. Something polite...like...thanks? It comes from the Old English thancian.