Christopher Beem in The Conversation:
In a speech on July 23, 2022, before the Conservative Political Action Committee, or CPAC, Sen. Ted Cruz introduced himself to the audience with the words, “My name is Ted Cruz and my pronoun is kiss my ass.”
In 2019, the Vermont College of Fine Arts appealed to a different group. They replaced the term alumni – which is derived from the Latin masculine plural but traditionally used to refer to all graduates of the school – with alumnx. In its statement, the college said that dropping the traditional term “alumni” was “a clear step toward exercising more intentional language, which we strive to implement in all aspects of college life.”
These statements are very different, of course. One is explicitly inclusive, designed to demonstrate that everyone who graduated from the school, irrespective of their gender, is included and respected. The other crudely denigrates the very attitudes expressed in the second example.
But for all their differences, both are examples of what has come to be called “virtue signaling” – an act that implicitly claims that the speaker has made a determination about some important moral question and wants to signal to others where they come down.