Why I hate the word "Problematic"--a brief diatribe
If there were one word in the English language that I could magically erase from existence in both speaking and text, it would be "problematic" because there is no other word I find so aggressively annoying. The reasons why I find the word "problematic" cough problematic, are many. But the most insidious answer is that I don't believe it actually means anything. In the ways I've seen it used, I think it could be replaced with the word "bad" or even "double-plus-un-good"--the negative superlative of duckspeak used in Orwell's 1984--and it wouldn't change the perceived meaning of the sentence.
When someone uses "problematic" as basically their thesis statement, they then have to elaborate further with more words to explain what their thesis statement actually is. The reason they have to do this is because the word "problematic" is vague. You know it's a negative, but negative how? And how negative? One could just as easily say "Aladdin is a problematic movie" or "Hillary Clinton's speech on black predators was problematic"--but in these sentences, "problematic" means very different things.
Problematic can mean "morally repulsive." It can mean "trivializing." It can mean "insensitive" or "racist" or "exclusionary" or "whitewashed" or "myopic" or "full of stereotypes" or "promoting conservative values" or even just "generally dislikable." It can mean literally fucking anything in a generally negative direction. I hate the word. I think it's a crutch that neglects articulation and makes people intellectually lazy. I truly believe it's watering down the English language like the duckspeak of 1984.
Whoever invented the word "problematic" gave the world a word that makes it easier to whine about problems but harder to solve them. Do you believe that Ghost in the Shell, by white-casting, promoted the continuation of prejudiced casting in Hollywood and neglected an opportunity to expose the American populace to Japanese culture? Then why would you say it was "problematic"? Do you believe that the American police's ongoing killings of people of color is creating a society in which African Americans are perceived as being unworthy of life, and permissibly executed as long as they were committing some paltry crime? Then why would you say it was "problematic"? Say what you mean, people. This drives me crazy--biggest pet peeve. Not pointing out the actual issues with things allows them to continue unscathed from a true analysis. It allows the reader or listener to not think about it. But you want them to think about it, so you are doing it wrong.
When you use a word in a sentence, it should carry a particular connotation. Something explicit, that actually conveys the meaning--and in the case of political issues, a direction in which to go in order to solve the problem. Problematic doesn't do this, and that is why I hate it.