According to an essay written by a Dartmouth student, the word “problematic” is actually in itself kind of problematic or something.
“The word problematic . . . gives people a way out, easing the burden of identifying exactly what about the state of the word gives people unease,” Steven Chun writes in an essay titled, “The Problem with ‘Problematic’” for the school’s newspaper, The Dartmouth.
Chun explains that although he does not think that people who use the word “problematic” are necessarily “in the wrong,” and although the word “captures so many of the ills that plague us: racism, ableism, twisted power dynamics, ignorance, discrimination, injustice, and the intersection of every one of those evils,” it is still “vague and incomplete.”
“It doesn’t tell us which injustice has taken place,” Chun writes. “In fact, it allows us to ignore the details completely.”
“Problematic means you know it’s wrong and that’s enough,” he continues.