The Power Of Humanizing Language – Seth Drayer

On this episode of the Mark Harrington show, Seth Drayer once again fills in for Mark Harrington, and shares the power that simple pronouns can have when humanizing, or dehumanizing the unborn.

Seth shares and reacts to two relevant interactions with students from Otterbein University, where Created Equal routinely holds outreach events.

You can follow Seth on Instagram and X @SethDrayer

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*This is an AI generated transcript, and may contain inaccurate transcriptions*

Seth Drayer (00:00):

There’s a word I use when talking with pro-choice students that drives them crazy. It’s not equality, it’s not murder, it’s not anything you might expect. It’s a pronoun. I’ll tell you why in a moment we’ll watch a clip where you see some student go crazy. When I use this pronoun, I’ll tell you why. I’m Seth Drayer filling in for Mark Harrington.


There’s one thing today everyone is talking about and that is pronouns. Everywhere you look their pronouns in email lines, in the signature lines, people say, this is my pronouns. Everywhere. We hear pronouns everywhere, we can’t get away from them, but there’s one group of humans who are denied pronouns. Have you noticed this? When I talk to students on college campuses about abortion, it becomes very clear to me that they resist giving pronouns to preborn babies. Now this raises the question why and also how should we respond to that? And that’s the topic of today. I want to talk about how the simple action but very profound action to deny pronouns to pre-born humans affects and shows us how we truly view them. When we go to college campuses, we talk about abortion and a lot of conversations come up. You know our basic case, you know it’s wrong to purposefully kill innocent humans.


Abortion does that. Therefore abortion is wrong. But when you’re talking to people about abortion, it’s often not as simple as laying out that dialogue. You have to go back and forth and ask them, well, what about the baby? What about is it right or wrong to kill her when she can feel certain things when she has a heartbeat, so on and so forth. When you do that, you can’t avoid using pronouns. Now, years ago when Mark first recruited me, Mark Harrington, this is his Mark Harrington show, as you know, when he first recruited me to join his effort, he said he had a little criticism of my conversations on college campuses. He said, Seth, I noticed you’re giving good content, but you’re using sometimes the pronoun it when talking about the baby. For example, I might say, well, at 16 days it’s hard as beating. He said, don’t do that.


And I said, well, what’s going on? He said, well, you’re used the word it signifies something. It seems like the baby’s not really a human person when you say it. We think of it as a thing, a book or a car or something like that. He says, Seth, be very careful. Choose a pronoun. He or she doesn’t really matter, but choose one. Ever since then, I’ve been very intentional in conversations to always insist on not saying it, but saying he or she. And that’s often raised a lot of questions. For example, years ago I was at DePaul University doing my first formal debate with a college professor about abortion. Dr. Jeffrey Klinger and I were talking about abortion and at one point in the q and a afterwards, some students said to me, I notice you keep saying she is aborted. Why was she killed or she is equal to us or she has a heartbeat.


She has brainwaves. Why she now, instead of unpacking Mark Harrington’s strategic choice of choosing a pronoun over it, I explained why I had chosen and why I have chosen for many years the pronoun she over, for example, he, it’s really quite simple. More girls are boarded than boys. If you’re not aware of this, you should be aware of it. There was a documentary years ago called It’s a Girl, the Three Deadliest Words in the World. This documentary shows us that more girls are aborted than boys. Even progressive. Far left groups acknowledge that girls are disappearing because they’re being killed by abortion. They’re being killed in infanticide, they’re being abused or discarded later on in life beaten by angry spouses or by families who are sexist. There’s a problem that girls are disappearing the un estimated years ago that maybe 200 million girls are missing because of what they call gender side.


So knowing that anytime an abortion happens, statistically speaking, it’s more likely a girl is being killed than a boy. When I talk about the Preborn baby being killed, I use the pronoun she because it’s more likely than not it’s a girl being aborted than a boy. Now students when they hear me say this, some of them don’t like it because of course they say they’re the women’s rights side, and if they’re the side for women’s rights, it’s awkward if I’m talking about a she who is being aborted because it makes it seem like a girl is being denied her human rights. And so I got that question years ago, and that is why I’ve chosen the pronoun she. But since then, a lot has changed in our culture since my first debate over a decade ago, and that is that pronouns now are not just something we use in everyday dialogue.


As I said in the beginning, they’re everywhere. We’re being forced to tell people my pronouns are this and that. You can use those if you prefer to, but I would like you to. We’re being told to do that rather than just saying your pronouns are based on the gender you God created you to have. So because of this though, some people when we talk about this, resist these pronouns not merely because they see us talking about the baby as a girl and that bothers them because they think they’re the side of women’s rights. Some people resist this because of how it reflects on as we’re going to see there are larger project of dehumanizing the babies. Here’s a simple truth. When there are some humans who are in our way or have something we want or are different in some way and we don’t like them, before societies commit evil against them, they often engage in a dehumanization process.


This can be talking about how they’re different with skin color or other features on their body and how they therefore they’re not equal to us, but also can be very, very simple like denying them something like a mere pronoun. So what I want to do is take you to Otter by University. This is near Columbus, Ohio. I want to show you a short conversation I had with a student on campus that shows to you how some people today are so ardent that they want to resist giving a pronoun to a preborn baby. And I want to ask afterward why that is and talk about how we should respond to this. But lemme first set the stage for you. Otterbein University is a campus that’s well known for their reaction. When created equal comes, they have what we sometimes refer to as the Bedsheet Brigade that as students that come out with these bedsheets or umbrellas and they do their best to try to hide our signs.


Now they never can hide all of them. We are careful to make sure that the abortion victims are still seen, but they do their best. They bring umbrellas, they bring bedsheets, they try to hide the pictures, which is often very interesting when they pride themselves on being very forward thinking and very open to discourse and dialogue. But they’re censoring our pictures. But what you’re going to see is me talking to one student before the conversation began in the video, I had asked the student about whether abortion is right or wrong, and the person said that abortion is not killing a human because the embryo does not have a heartbeat. So I referred him to the fact that the British Heart Foundation in their newest research has shown us the heart is beating at 16 days after fertilization. So the very young, very early embryo does indeed have a heartbeat to this student’s credit. This student conceded the point and said, okay, the embryo has a heartbeat. And then I said, well then why is it okay to kill her? And that’s what you’re going to see. This student got very frustrated by my use of the pronoun. She let’s play the clip.


We agreed. We agreed that she has a heartbeat. She is not a she not at, right? What did you do? Because she has XX Chromosome.

Student (06:32):

She doesn’t, you know that. Tell me, this thing has xx pronouns. What the She doesn’t have pronouns, bro. She Wait, where are you getting she from?

Seth Drayer (06:43):

Wait you think some humans don’t have pronouns?

Student (06:47):

This is a

Seth Drayer (06:47):

Human being. You’re sanction the pronouns

Student (06:48):

To the wrong person. Pronouns, right? Okay, so

Seth Drayer (06:52):

Wait, why are you denying the pronouns that are based on her gender?

Student (06:55):

How do you know it’s a female?

Seth Drayer (06:58):

A lot of the pictures when their legs are moved, you can see the genitalia. Gender is observable. We can observe it.


So I think you caught it. The student said she is not a thing. Now why do you think the student is saying she is not a thing? This student is denying the reality. This baby not only exists, but this baby has an identity. This baby is human like you and like me and every human. It would be very wrong of me to walk up to someone and say, you know what? You’re not a he or she, you are an it. You don’t have a pronoun that would be wrong and offensive. And we don’t do that because we recognize every human we meet is being a human like us and has all of the privileges we have includes having pronouns. Right now we have a longer conversation about what our pronouns are, what they should be. But the point is, every human today is not denied pronouns except for one human group that is pre-born babies.


The student resists that because the student does not want to give these babies the same dignity you and I have. So we see behind this a dehumanization process. Anytime someone denies something to a group of humans like a mere pronoun, there’s a purpose involved. It’s propaganda. It’s wrong. The goal is to remove strip human dignity, and that’s what we must resist. Now, as we watch this though, our response, our question is what should we do in response? Now of course, again, my point to the student was I said, gender is observable. Interestingly, the student, it later came out as you could see in the video, they were saying, you’re asking the wrong person about pronouns. This student did claim to be part of the lgbtq plus movement, if you will, and that means generally pronouns are very important to this student. And yet again, that makes it even more clear and more obvious that the purposeful stripping of pronouns from the baby was intentional.


My response was that gender is observable. And you can see it’s very interesting that we kind of agreed on that point because a student asked, well, how do you know that this baby has XX chromosomes? And I pointed to the fact that on some of our signs, you can see the genitals, you can tell if it’s a boy or a girl, and that informs us whether it’s a he or a she. It’s pretty simple, right? At least it used to be pretty simple. It’s gotten pretty confusing today. We can strip it all down and make it very easy. Though gender is observable. But even if you set aside the whole debate of what is gender, again, we all recognize every human being. Part of being a human is that there’s a way to refer to as he or she. We can refer to you with pronouns.


That’s just simply the way that we treat. We treat human beings. But again, the student said she does not have pronouns, bro. He wanted to deny her the pronouns. Why? Because the student did not think the baby really is a person like you or like me. But so the point here is pretty simple. I think language matters. We talk a lot when we’re involved in apologetics. That’s what created equals all about. We believe it’s important to know not only why abortion’s wrong, but how to put that in simple everyday dialogue with people so that everyone can understand the purpose of our case so that we’re not just having pro-life versus pro-choice, shouting back and forth. We want honest dialogue so we can have real change happen. But apologetics, when you think about it, it’s not just the case why abortion is wrong. It’s very simple things like how do we engage in dialogue?


Do we insist on using pronouns like he or she when speaking about babies? It’s a very small thing, but I think this points to the fact that language really does matter. So you and I, when we talk about abortion, and I hope you do talk about abortion with your friends, your neighbors, your family members need to be very intentional to choose our words carefully humanizing language. When we talk about the babies, not saying it using pronouns, he or she talking about the baby, the person I love to refer to preborn people rather than just the preborn or just the unborn because we want to insist on the fact these are really people like you and like me. Now using a small pronoun, using a small word like phrase like preborn people that might not be enough to change someone from pro-life to pro-choice. The point is though we are being consistent even in our language to point to the very clear and obvious fact that the being in an abortion, the being who’s affected by abortion is a human being like you and like me being stripped, torn to pieces and tossed in the trash.


Now, so sometimes the dehumanization of babies is subtle like that, resisting pronouns, but as I’m sure you’ve seen, sometimes dehumanization is not subtle at all. Sometimes it’s very obvious in your face. And I want to show you a second video clip to unpack that further because my point today is that in all of our language, the language we use really does matter. It shows up in things like pronouns, but it shows up in other more obvious ways as well. Now, if you’re a student of history as I would like to be, unfortunately I’m not as schooled as I should be in history, but I have looked back and seen some common threads through history and one common thread we’ve seen is the in societies, when some groups are set apart as other, as different as worthy of being killed, discarded, or used in human slavery, as I mentioned before, the group that is in power always dehumanizes them with language or with other means, and one example of that might be pronouns.


Another example is using language that makes them seem animalistic. We could think about in the Holocaust when Hitler referred to Jewish people as parasites, taking humans, comparing them to parasites, you would get out of your body and toss away or kill, right? Comparing humans to that you could think of also in the randan genocide, the Hutu killed tootsies. These two tribes, the Hutu called the Tootsies cockroaches. Cockroaches clearly are not a group of a subset of human beings. They’re referred to the enemy as something from the non-human group of beings to make them seem less than other dehumanizing. This is a very common thread. We see it in our conversations about abortion too. So I want to take you to another campus to Bowling Green State University. This campus I was doing open microphone where I have a microphone we’re taking, we take questions from a crowd around us. You hear one young girl who becomes very frustrated not saying my case is wrong, not saying that my opposition to abortion is wrong. She opposes what she considers my preferential treatment of preborn babies to other humans who are in need. So let’s watch the second video clip and as you watch, think about the language she uses and how it shows her perspective on what the babies really are.

Student (12:54):

What about the foster care that are suffering? Why don’t you care for them worse before you care for the children that have a tail?

Seth Drayer (13:00):

That tail is the umbilical cord. You can use dehumanizing language and look at someone who has been destroyed through her abortion. You could call them animals. You can use dehumanizing words like a tale that reflects more on you. If you look at people who are different from you and say, they’re not like me, they don’t count. This is a lot about you. I’m sorry, but you are dehumanizing. Perspective is gross and injustice. We ought to look at people different from us and say, you are equal to me. Not so long ago, people with my skin color, look at what different skin color and they said, you’re not equal. This is a 20 century America. Can we not take an honest look at what we’ve done in our country? We need to be honest about racism. Let’s be honest about it. Our differences of gender, skin, color, age, have no bearing on who we are. The question for you is what kind of person do you want to be? Okay, I’ll talk about the genocide in Rwanda. The tu call the tut cockroaches. You say tail, they said cockroaches. We always use dehumanizing words. We want to look at someone who is inconvenient and write them out of existence. But you said it, you said it today, but tomorrow you could choose the better path of human equality. Question or comment?


Alright, so she saw the umbilical cord and she said, those humans have a tail. Now why tail? I think that was intentionally chosen. She’s using a part of a body of an animal comparing the babies to that to make them seem less than you might think. It’s a simple slip of the tongue, but I don’t think so. I think her pro-abortion worldview is flowing out in her words where she sees babies as less than. So to dehumanize them, she says they have a tail that justifies her beliefs in her mind. She can justify treating them as less than if they really are less than. When you say they have a tail, it makes ’em seem like a rat or something else has a tail, right? What do you do if there’s a rat in your house? You get rid of it. So if there’s a being with a tail on your body and you don’t want it, get rid of it.


It’s not a human like you or me. It’s less than the words we use really do matter. She said tale for a reason. We must be very clear in our response to use language that is accurate saying that is a human being. That human being has an umbilical cord, but that’s because all human beings at that stage in life do have umbilical cords. They may look different, but that’s exactly how a human ought to look at that phase in her existence. So again, what we’re seeing here is that language does matter. The language we use reflects our worldview. If we say it for the baby, if we say that they have tails, we have a worldview of dehumanization, a worldview of seeing humans who are different from us as somehow less than. I think there’s a far better way, and that’s what I once forget to in my conversation I wanted to with that young girl, with that crowd.


My goal is I recognize when we go to a college campus, I know when I talk to people, especially a large crowd like that who is pro-abortion and not all interactions are like that. We have a lot more conversations, interactions with the open-minded individuals. Those are the ones we’re actually looking for. But when you have a large crowd and they’re largely pro-abortion, I recognize to actually step out from the crowd and to be different, that’s really, really hard to do, right? It’d be very hard for anyone to admit, you know what, that guy, he’s right, abortion is wrong. Now we do hear that happen and I thank God when that does happen, but it’ll take a lot of courage to be that kind of a person. So I recognize that, but my goal is to, in my language, in what I show and what I represent to make sure the reality is inescapable.


That’s why we have the signs, because the reality of what abortion is to humans, just like you and me, humans who do have pronouns because God made them with a certain gender, humans who they have an umbilical cord. It’s not a tailo like a rat or a dog. There are humans who look exactly as they ought to look at that stage in their existence. I look at ’em and I know that is a reality that people need to confront and interact with. That’s why we use our language carefully and are signs. We bring them to show people the reality and that’s what we’re doing soon in Florida. Now, if you follow Create Equal for many years, we know that we have a thing called the Justice Ride, a very big exciting event, and I want to share with you, we’re getting ready right now to hit the road in just about a week.


We have students coming from across the country. They come to Columbus, Ohio to jump on buses that join us for the justice ride. The justice ride has a very simple ideology and that is that we with our language, we with our signs, we are going to be intentional to correct all of this dehumanization, what do you do when people are dehumanizing babies? You go with the clear, true humanity. We don’t have to add humanity to them. We immediately reveal the humanity that is already there. We do that by making their faces visual, showing people what the babies look like, showing them not only the humanity of their lives, but also the inhumanity of abortion. When people see that, they encounter that, they see what I mentioned, that student at Otterbein, the gender is observable. They see that not only as gender observable, we can see clearly the baby if he’s a boy or she’s a girl.


But not only that, we can see that injustice really is observable and our goal with the justice right, is to show people the injustice and then call them to action. Because not only is injustice observable observing, it calls us to action. And that’s why we’re so excited to have a full bust again for this justice ride. If you go and follow, go to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Follow us and watch us. You can follow our journey on the justice ride to meet our justice writers and see them have conversations just like I had. Because here’s what I want to boil this down to. This all comes down to this. We are in a culture, a time of great dehumanization. It’s an obvious things like calling babies parasites, saying they have tails referring to them as an it rather than a she denying them resisting the idea.


They have pronouns saying that’s not a she or he. That’s an it. This shows the pervasiveness of the dehumanization project, and as so long as our society sees babies as less than human, we will feel justified in treating them as less than human. So what is our job? You can join the justice ride, come with us. But even if you can’t do that, you can go to our website to create Get resources to do this very thing. We must all of us commit to this in very small things like Mark told me years ago, choose a pronoun, he or she, but choose one for the baby. If you could see whether it’s a wear a girl, say appropriately, he or she. If you can’t see, pick one. Stick with it. Make sure you are not being dehumanizing by your language. And more than that, make sure you are not allowing the dehumanization to continue by your inaction.


If you are unwilling to talk about the babies, if you’re unwilling to show people what abortion really looks like, you’re allowing the dehumanization process to go unchecked, and that must not be so. What do we do? We join together alone. None of us can do it. But if we continue every one of us thinking, who do I know who is in my sphere of influence? Who can I talk to? We can little by little point people to what is true and what is right. And then at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if someone insists on saying the baby’s a it or saying he’s a parasite. If we have enough people who to recognize the reality that babies are people just like us, these preborn people have gender just like us. These preborn people have dignity just like us. If we get enough people to come together and reject abortion, we can one day foresee the day that abortion truly will be ended.


That day is not going to be easy to get to it. It’s going to require every one of us working together, working toward the great goal, pushing people to the great truth of what you know and what I know. And that’s no matter what you look like. No matter whether you have a high IQ or low iq, no matter whether you went to school or you dropped out of school, no matter whether you feel great about yourself or not, we know that every single human being bears God’s image, and that means every single one of us truly is created equal.

Outro (20:17):

You’ve been listening to Mark Harrington, your radio activist. For more information on how to make a difference for the cause of life, liberty and justice, go to created To follow mark, go to Mark Harrington Be sure to tune in next time for your marching orders in the culture war.