You can read in a lot to the way people talk with their simple use of grammar. People who refer to other people “who” do things, or children “who” behave well, or elected officials “who” are creating positive impact think of their subjects as “people.” Yet, more and more, people are referring to other human beings as objects. President Trump, while not known for his poise or grammatical prowess does this often. From one of his more famous quotes: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems …” He surely doesn’t think much of Mexicans. This is just one example. You should see and hear many examples of people objectifying others – in traditional and social media and especially in commonplace conversation. You may even do it yourself!
Generally, people “who” refer to others as “people that” are sharing one ore more of three subliminal messages about themselves:
1) They don’t think much of the people they are talking about;
2) They are very self-focused individuals; or
3) They are simply a product of modern day society. This grammatical error has become so common place, it has simply become an acceptable way to speak.
I suspect, it is either one of the first two possibilities. What do you think?