Now we have to deal with ‘who vs that.’

I’ve been reading a lot of emails, articles, stories that are saying ‘that’ in place of ‘who’ when talking about a person. Now listen, folks. Since when are people things? ‘That’ refers to a thing. ‘Who’ refers to a person. So instead os saying, “She was the one that noticed it.” You should be saying, “She was the one who noticed it.” Now doesn’t that sound better?
The reason I’m getting opinionated about this is because when you use the word ‘that’ in reference to a person, you are demeaning that person. And I’m wondering if this isn’t a part, albeit a tiny part, of the problems our world is facing today. People don’t think well of each other anymore. A good too many of us, anyway.
I know this isn’t something we have done on purpose. It’s all unconsciously done. That is, when we use ‘that’ instead of ‘who’, we are unconsciously telling that person he/she doesn’t matter. And that person will get the message even while they are not consciously thinking about it. It’s demeaning and it does cause a shift in our thinking even if we are not realizing it. We need to do better.
Now I know this is a tiny thing I’m suggesting, but if we do this simple little change in how we speak of other people, we may see some little bit of change in how we think of one another. I’m thinking this just might be a good experiment to try. What do you say?

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