The famous (or infamous) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just came out on social media and declared that people are not patroning Chinese/Asian restaurants because of coronavirus-induced racism (DISCLAIMER: the correct word is actually patronizing, unbeknownst to AOC). People have responded with very proper indignation, but not indignation at what I consider the real issue. As my brother pointed out, how dare she call attending certain restaurants “patroning?” There are some seriously concerning sexist undertones to that word.
You see, “patron” is derived from the Latin word “pater,” meaning father, the same word from which are derived the English terms “patriotism” and “patriarchy!” Patriotism, of course, consists of nothing more than white supremacy, xenophobia, and disdain for other cultures, while modern women have spent decades fighting the oppressive rule of the sexist patriarchy. The word “patroning” in AOC’s statement is therefore not only insensitive, I fear it is actually evidence of her brainwashing by the patriarchy!
In response to this blatant and outrageous sexism, I call for AOC to amend her statement and use a far more gender-sensitive word, such as “matroning.” Why should the universal term always be derived from the masculine form, rather than the feminine form? Perhaps even better would be “pertroning,” out of respect to all of our gender-non-conforming friends.
Furthermore, Latin was a language spoken by a lot of dead white men who operated under a patriarchal society. The Romans thought their civilization superior to all others and they oppressed the indigenous peoples of Britain, Gaul, Asia Minor, and elsewhere. Not only that, their language assigned a gender to every noun, pronoun, and adjective, clearly reinforcing gender stereotypes which should repulse more enlightened modern English speakers. This, in fact, reinforces the argument for “pertroning,” as “matroning” still comes from a Latin root word, “mater” (meaning “mother”). This toxic word “patroning” is only one out of many, and we should eliminate words derived from Latin as much as possible.
Finally, “patroning” implies that the head of the family is the father and the one determining which restaurants should be eaten at. This clearly insults non-traditional family structures such as single mother households and LGBTQ families.
The adapted words of GK Chesterton (albeit he is an old, dead, nationalistic white man, and therefore culturally irrelevant) may here be quoted aptly.
“The Democratic Party does not need to be satirized, for it is satirizing itself.”