the language barrier

bell hooks brings up in her piece Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness (The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader, Sandra Harding, Page 153) that "Language is a Place of Struggle. Dare I speak to oppressed and oppressor in the same voice? Dare I speak to you in a language that will move beyond the boundaries of domination - a language that will not bind you, fence you in, or hold you? The oppressed struggle in language to recover ourselves, to reconcile, to reunite, to renew. Our works are not without meaning, they are an action, a resistance. Language is also a place of struggle."

I found this to be a compelling piece because language is often thought to be the way to get across an idea or an emotion; however, more often than not people do not stop to think about the language they are using to get those ideas across, whether it be to another person or to a group or to the general public.

So here's what I propose: I challenge you to think about every word you use today. Make every word count. Think about the history that each word holds, the context you put it in, and whom you are speaking to. Think about it and see if you change your way of speaking, or if you notice everyday jargon that is loaded with history that you never even thought about before.


Anonymous said...

I hear the word "gay" in everyday life, and truth be told, it's hard to not use it myself! I tried today to see if I could not use it and honestly it was hard, but it definately made me think about how many times a day I use it and how much hurt it could inflict on people who are gay...

Anonymous said...

This is way harder than I thought! I usually only watch my words at work so I don't swear or something, but everyday all day is hard!

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