Tell Me Words Don’t Matter!
A longstanding argument of this Report is that “words are important,” that “words mean what they say.” That is how the intentions of the speaker or writer are communicated or expressed. Today we hear that it is unacceptable to use the word “negro” in normal day-to-day language. Use the evil “N” word and you commit suicide. Reason? It offends some “…” people. Well, the use of the term “African-American” offended me! That term means “African” first, “American” second. As an American “white,” with roots that go back to the beginning of this country, I find such usage and it’s overt acceptance is a direct implication of my second-class status.
Keeping and protecting their African heritage at the cost of their American reality has dominated their movement toward individuality and their maturity as a race within the American context is self-evident. Simple-minded, knee jerk reactions, however well intended, because someone’s sensitivities are tweaked, can lead to some rather undesirable and unintended consequences. But then, that’s usually the undisclosed plan, especially one with an ulterior motive, isn’t it?
Today we see an effort to actually recognize the value and meaning of words expressed in law. In the state of Washington –
Decades ago, poor children became known as “disadvantaged” to soften the stigma of poverty. Then they were “at-risk.” Now, a Washington lawmaker wants to replace those euphemisms with a new one, “at hope.”
Lovely word “euphemisms.” It means: “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.”
Democratic State Sen. Rosa Franklin says negative labels are hurting kids’ chances for success and she’s not a bit concerned that people will be confused by her proposed rewrite of the 54 places in state law where words like “at risk” and “disadvantaged” are used.
You can read the rest of the story here:
Of course there’s the expected standard simple-minded Republican response:
“It’s not the label, it’s the people who show up to help (children) that make the difference,” he says. “What helps is a smart, well structured program, that has funding and credibility.”
You can read Robert Preidt report on HealthDay News published at MedicineNet.com, “Negative Words Register Faster” and see why I say “simple-minded.” Class stigmatisms are subliminally contained in the attitude expressed by the words used to tag, classify and identify people. It is a “truth” nearly impossible to overcome.
This is nowhere expressed more succinctly than in this statement by a Federal Judge at the Sentencing Hearing of Richard Reid: “And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.”
Yes, words matter. Words of truth do not make anyone a bigot, a racist, or a monster. But then, Jesus Christ spoke words of truth defending and empowering the “disadvantaged” and “at risk” and look what happened to him!