Targeting: Be careful

Many groups have now co-opted the word “target” as used as a verb. We have to be careful when we hear someone use this word. Always ask for clarification.

Now, ex-spouses are using the term to describe inaccuracies in marriage disputes. This is a rather far-fetched use of the term “target” but that’s the word commonly used.  For instance, if the wife gets the kids and then, lies to the kids about just how horrible the ex-husband was, which is commonly done, then the ex might say he was “targeted.” While it is true he was not treated well, and the law does not protect against these terrible crimes against the non-custodial spouses who very well may not be so evil, it’s not exactly targeting. It’s lying, deceit, and depriving children of a parent.

Another time “targeting” is used is if a person is chosen at random. Say you are searched in an area where people are randomly searched. You were not targeted if people are searched at random. If they had no stated reason to search you, then indeed it was random. However, if they state that you look suspicious or look like a crook, then, you might have been profiled.

If you showed up drunk and acted disorderly maybe they had a good reason to suspect you were up to no good. In that case, again, “targeted” isn’t quite accurate.

When I hear the word “targeted,” since the word is so often used in our culture when something else is meant, I ask for clarification. By all means I generally do not default to assuming the person is paranoid. That’s the last thing I assume.


7 thoughts on “Targeting: Be careful”

  1. For some reason I’m not familiar with this term. When I hear or read about target in verb form it’s usually about “target your audience” and marketing or publicity stuff. This sounds like emotional abuse and discrimination instead.

    1. It is new usage of the word. And we HAVE to ask for clarification rather than default to assuming the speaker is paranoid.

      1. Because of its associations with “severe mental illness” I use the term unduly suspicious instead most of the time. Even then we should make sure the suspicions ARE unreasonable first.

        1. I have heard it used by legal people informally to describe the behavior of stalkers, particularly jealous exes.

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