Wednesday, July 25, 2007

in a word

We know the answer to "what's in a name?" but what about "what's in a word?"

There are times when people are careless with words and it works out to more than just semantics. Every word has more than one meaning - there are personal feelings, connotations and experiences that we each attach to the words we use and the words we hear. Something seemingly (and intending to be) innocent can come across completely insulting and offensive because of these hidden meanings.

But that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the cultural or intended connotations that come with words. Things that show a bias in one direction or another, words that were originally intended to be derogatory.

Like not too long ago when there was the "nappy headed ho's" comment made. It wasn't meant to be an insult, but there is no denying what the original meaning was - to refer to a group of professional female athletes that way was insane, and mayhem ensued.

There are times when these comments are innocent - like when someone asks me what I "do" and I say I'm a mom. Any response including the word "just" (as in "oh, so you just stay at home?") kinda irks me a bit - because I don't "just" do anything. I work harder now than I thought possible. I don't fault people for this, I'm just using it as an example.

My point? Be more careful with your choice of words. Look at things from the other side, take into account the mindset of whomever is listening (or reading). There are so many negative attitudes and perceptions floating around that we have allowed by claiming ignorance, and they will never stop unless we start paying attention.

1 comment:

delicatefaun said...

very good points steph and i agree with all of them. some people refuse to pay attention or take responsibilty for their words and meanings, whether it was intention to insult or not.