Monday, July 29, 2013

Language Already HAS Power

Just a quick thought. You know the type of troll/bigot who says, "It's no big deal to say [slur X]! You're the one giving it power!"...?

I just need to vent about this mentality. Are the people who say this seriously suggesting that language can exist in some kind of vacuum separate from our society? Do they truly not understand that slurs are inextricable from their bigoted histories which, in many cases, were (and still are!) used along side very real violence and murder? We can't just wake up today and deem slurs to carry no meaning or a neutral meaning. It is not the victims of the slurs who "give them power." It was the oppressors when they used them as ways to demean and dehumanize others. There is no ignoring that.

People who tout this mentality just want to put the onus of oppression on the oppressed. They suggest, "If you weren't so offended/upset/fixated with this, then it couldn't be used against you." (A close cousin to "just ignore it!" people.)

But coupled with it is an underlying implication that these trolls want to use this language themselves, or perhaps to justify their past use of this language. And it's not just that they want to use it, it's that they want to use it without repercussion, so they position the victim of the slur as the one who has a problem (ie the one who is "giving it power.")

I get that people can and will ultimately say what they want, so bigoted language is NOT going anywhere. But to suggest that the reason that slurs are offensive is because marginalized people have given it power is at best laughable.

The People You Meet When You Write About Race
Some guy thinks that saying sexism = power + oppression is "giving men the power."

Please see the commenting policy before replying to this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

This blog has strict comment moderation intended to preserve a safe space. Moderation is managed solely by the blog author. As such, even comments made in good faith will be on a short delay, so please do not attempt to resubmit your comment if it does not immediately appear. Discussion and thoughtful participation are encouraged, but abusive comments of any type will never be published. The blog author reserves the right to publish/delete any comments for any reason, at her sole discretion.

TL;DR Troll comments are never published, so don't waste your time.