okay i am dying in this corner of the universe reading these dialogues. like, omg!
—code switching out of academic language, does not destroy the complexity of the ideas.
—why am i reading academics who claim that they can’t get ideas across except in academic language because of the need to preserve the complexity of the ideas, but cant seem to understand really basic arguments being made by etp. which i guess arent that basic of ideas, even if they arent written in academic-ese, since these self-proclaimed academics dont understand it…just lol. man.
—i guess im just tired of dealing with folks who are so biased in favor of academic language, that when they read non-academic language they automatically assume that it is simpler, less complex, less nuanced and thus end up making straw man arguments that dont address the text or speaker, but rather reveal the academics own assumptions and superiority mindset.
academic language does not always signify complex or well-thought out ideas.
and non-academic languages does not always signify simplistic ideas…
anyone who listens to hip hop and doesnt realize this…
Have you noticed that a lot of people hiding out in academia are, how shall we say this, not exactly the brightest? Yeah I said it (and I said a lot, not all). I’d rather hang out with cooks, boxers, and construction workers than snotty academics any day of the week (and I do, the conversations are broader and more interesting). Especially academics who can’t get past their culturally-biased educational absolutism and feel the need to erect a specialized language wall around their lack of original vision. That ain’t complexity for the sake of profundity, that’s surface complication for the purpose of obscuring shallowness. Simplistic complication is boring.
I’ve been designing software systems for a living for the past two decades, so I know and value and even love the utility of technical language when it’s called for. But I can describe any software system I’ve written in non-technical language to a layperson, with a bit of time and background explanation. Academics who are too lazy to perform such a function suck. If Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu and Mencius and Confucius could say what they said in language understood by peasants, I’m unswayed by this notion that only the opaque ugliness of academic-speak can communicate complexity. There’s certainly a place for technical language when it comes to performing certain technical tasks, but there’s a far bigger place in human cultural life for capturing subtle, complex, or profound ideas in simple language.
ok, i am fully sick of this shit, dictionaries are not sparkly magical oases of unbiased truth, utterly untouched by racism or political agenda
whose political agenda exactly? here, lemme show you. i took five minutes to search for the creators and current owners of merriam-webster and the oxford dictionary and this is what i got
noah webster, wrote the first webster’s. did you also know he was a hardxcore american nationalist and christian who thought the written word was explicitly a tool that needed to be used to control public dissent and individualism which he considered to be badwrong? LOOK IT UP, SHITDICK
oh but who owns it now? well websters became merriam-websters which is a subsidiary of encyclopaedia britannica inc. currently, but here are just some of the white dudes who owned the rights to webster’s shit along the way
hello richard warren sears, yes THAT sears, you are looking particular white and rich
senator william benton, yale graduate, founder of benton & bowles advertising company! rockin that rich whiteness
jacqui safra! member of the famous safra banking family, current owner of encyclopaedia britannica, and merriam-webster and spring mountain vineyard, friend of woody allen and financer of EIGHT of his films. how deliciously white and rich you smell.
here is a small sample of the white dudes that collabed on oxford dictionary originally, archbishop trench, herbert coleridge, frederick james furnivall and sir james murray by this point i was 500% done with reading biographies on boring white dudes doing boring white dude things so instead let’s just all bask in how boring and white they are
for added fun the wiki article on the oxford dictionary has a whole section on criticisms that basically outlines exactly the fucking problem here
Despite its claim of authority on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary has been criticised from various angles. It has become a target precisely because of its massiveness, its claims to authority, and above all its influence. In his review of the 1982 supplement, University of Oxford linguist Roy Harris writes that criticizing the OED is extremely difficult because “one is dealing not just with a dictionary but with a national institution”, one that “has become, like the English monarchy, virtually immune from criticism in principle”.:935 Harris also criticises what he sees as the “black-and-white lexicography” of the Dictionary, by which he means its reliance upon printed language over spoken—and then only privileged forms of printing. He further notes that, while neologisms from respected “literary” authors such as Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf are included, usage of words in newspapers or other, less “respectable”, sources hold less sway, although they may be commonly used.:935 He writes that the OED’s “[b]lack-and-white lexicography is also black-and-white in that it takes upon itself to pronounce authoritatively on the rights and wrongs of usage”,:935 faulting the Dictionary’s prescriptive, rather than descriptive, usage. To Harris, this prescriptive classification of certain usages as “erroneous” and the complete omission of various forms and usages cumulatively represent the “social bias[es]” of the (presumably well-educated and wealthy) compilers.:936
so basically, fuck you, you fucking fuck, if you trot out a dictionary definition as proof of racism against white people cuz THE DICTIONARY SAYS that racism is defined only as “racial prejudice or discrimination” (merriam-webster) or “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race” (oxford).
well guess the fuck what.
RICH WHITE PEOPLE WRITE AND CONTROL ENGLISH DICTIONARIES.
RICH WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE ONES DEFINING THE WORDS THAT MAKE IT INTO ENGLISH DICTIONARIES.
AND IF YOU THINK FOR A SECOND THAT RICH WHITE PEOPLE ARE WITHOUT MAJOR FUCKING BIAS YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER FUCKING THING COMING, MAINLY A WHOLE WORLD OF UNCHALLENGED IGNORANCE
grow up humanity. they’re just sounds
But you’re wrong, though.
No no no no no, I need to break this shit down though.
Ok, let’s talk about what words are.
Words are the most powerful piece of technology that humans have ever come up with. They’re these complex sounds or gestures or squiggles that represent sounds/gestures that - GET THIS SHIT- Allow an idea to be passed from the mind of one human to the mind of another.
That is some groundbreaking shit. I can take a thought that’s in my head, and put it into your head, and then you can react to it and give me feedback and I can know the thoughts that resulted, BECAUSE WORDS. Words allow me to RE-WRITE YOUR BRAIN’S ACTIVITY.
When someone is hurt by a word, it’s not the sound that did it. It’s the fact that the word indicates that there’s some really shitty thoughts going on inside the head of the person who used that word. Because, get this: WORDS MEAN THINGS.
Being hurt by a word that someone says indicates that the person who was hurt has an understanding of that word’s meaning and context and what ideas and behaviors that word represents. It means having the capacity to understand an abstract thing, a sound or gesture, as being representative of something else entirely. Having an emotional reaction to a word is really having an emotional reaction to the thoughts and feelings of another person as they choose to express them in a given social interaction.
There is nothing more adult and more fucking HUMAN than that.
reblogging for awesome commentary.
I am constantly telling people around me the importance of words and word choices, and language in general, as one of the most profound ways of connecting from one person to another.
moniquill: makin you look foolish, always.
today I’m feeling particularly down (actually this whole week) and I think talking about one of my worst memories, which cycles over and over again in my head always in moments like these, might make me feel better.
so I’m Han Chinese, and I speak Mandarin. I immigrated to the states when I was young.
of course I was always made fun of for not pronouncing words correctly; it’s still irksome to me (might be triggering even, since sometimes this destroys my mood/turns me off completely) when people correct my English to this day. I can’t help it.
so in 3rd grade I had a white teacher I really loved. thinking back on all my teachers I had she was one of the best. reflecting back on this thus makes me especially upset.
we had to call our parents to ask for permission for something, might have been for a field trip. that detail is fuzzy. but what isn’t fuzzy but rather crystal clear and sharp is that when I was calling my mom and speaking in Mandarin, the whole class had turned quiet to stare at me.
then everyone (a class w/majority white kids), and I mean everyone, including my teacher, burst out into laughter.
and out of nervousness and humilitation I peed my pants. ran to the bathroom and stayed there pretty much all day.
and this was back when I was living in poverty and I didn’t want to tell my mom that I had wet my pants because I felt like such a big baby but that meant I couldn’t wash my pants because laundry day wasn’t coming up and I didn’t have many pants to wear so I had to rewear those pants.
next day I come back and kids said “sorry for making you upset, it’s just you sounded funny.”
my natural home tongue language sounds funny but my english also sounds funny. and the implications of what this means will stay with me.
no matter what, this is what I always remember when people, especially white people because most POC I know are trying to regain their own languages or studying a romance language (and quite frankly POC don’t act like this towards me), are so excited and demand me to perform my language for them or when they want me to practice speaking Mandarin with them or when they detail all their hard work in learning Mandarin for business or whatever.
this is so common: my culture is both despised or demonized yet exoticized for consumption while the people who are part of it are treated like circus freaks.
so white folks:
we POC spend a lot of time either consciously or unconsciously rejecting our languages to be more like you, because of this racist systemic bullying, while you’re here making a lot more money than a lot of us and spending it to decorate your resume with “new” languages and going to “foreign” countries as a backdrop to *your* learning experience. i know white people who go to china yearly and/or speak better Mandarin than me when I can’t even afford to go back to visit my own family more than once every 7-8 or so years and it really kills me a little bit when I hear these things.
not to mention how “cool” it is that white people can speak Mandarin but it’s *expected* of me otherwise I’m not really “chinese enough”/”lol you are a banana yellow outside white inside.” Yet I’m “too chinese” when I do practice parts of my culture and my language. whatever the situation demands, whiteness twists.
and recently, i’ve tried to consider this deeply when I’m learning Spanish because I live in Arizona and I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a visibly Latin@ teacher here, teaching a bunch of privileged kids your own language when they are barely making an effort/using it without any consideration of its worth and when you yourself are penalized and suffering from white supremacy for existing as Latin@ and speaking Spanish. I just can’t and I’m just so deeply angry/sorry.
so just…when you’re learning a “new” language white folks (remember, new to who?), you need to understand that this is what POC who already speak these languages face and how intimately language and culture and race tie together.
Please stop saying “physical attraction” as if it’s a synonym for sexual attraction. Asexual people who experience sensual attraction are experiencing an attraction that is literally physical. Asexuality is about not experiencing sexual attraction, not about not experiencing physical attraction, although sexual attraction might be in the category of physical attractions.
Tagged: asexuals, if i separate my attraction into enough subcategories maybe i can pretend it doesn’t exist, I define the meaning of words now! Do not defy me!, words mean things, split those hairs finer! finer!, i will do all the mental gymnastics necessary to stay a part of this subculture.
Reblogging for watchful-entity’s amazingly accurate tags
this is where language goes to die and is reborn as a beautiful asexual phoenix
That first thing makes “physical attraction” sound like some kind of magnetic thing. (Fucking asexuals, how do they work?)
Physical attraction has been a euphemism for sexual attraction for forever, though.
Thinking that we need euphemisms for sex, sexual relationships and sexual attraction sounds a tad slut-shaming to me. And clearly, desiring precision (and less slut-shaming) in language is the most absolutely outrageous & ridiculous request.
- the OP
We have euphemisms for everything, though. It doesn’t imply shame. Plus there are some situations where using the word sexual is ill advised.
Wrong. Euphemisms for having fun indeed have nothing to do with shame. But euphemisms for sex and all things sexual are indeed caused by shame and centuries of “can’t mention such things in polite company”. That same thing goes for any and all euphemisms we have for bodily functions, be they eating, defecating, dying or procreating. Many, if not most, of the euphemisms we have for those things arose during times of incredibly strong Cristian influence on western societies. If you look at pre-Christian stuff from Northern Europe it’s very frivolous and open about all of the above things, if you look at post-Christian Northern Europe you’ll find all written sources full of euphemisms, but all of the oral narratives such as ballads full of unashamed mentions of all things related to life and the body. Not until Christian morals was efficiently stomped into the minds of the working classes to the degree of nearly completely eradicating the balladic tradition (speaking specifically of Denmark here - thank you Grundtvig - not!) did every mention of sex and the body’s other function come in the shape of euphemisms.
So yes, it implies shame. A whole truckload of it.
Sexual is the clinical and correct term for a lot of things. If that is the wrong word to use in some situations it is because people in those situations believe that all things sexual are shameful and taboo. And *that* would be thanks to the Christian Western world’s view that all things sexual are shameful and should never be mentioned in “polite company”.
But what I hate even more is what those words arose from. From the structural oppression of cissexism and the invalidation of our genders built into every level of this society and many others.
Y’all remember my post on words and offense? Words are tools of these systems. They influence mindsets and further discriminatory structures as well as stuffing extra internalized bigotry and pure -ism into the brains of the oppressed and the privileged respectively. In the end offense is a low priority compared to that dangerous effect of them.
Let’s go further.
Words are small parts of a really big system. Little tiny gears. Stamping them out will have a very small effect. Because in the end, that system will find new ways to influence mindset. New words, new phrases, new attacks designed to erode the humanity of trans people, queer folks, poc, pwd, neurodiverse folks, the mentally ill, the poor and working classes, homeless people, fat people, etc etc etc.
No doubt, just like offense still being a problem (cuz when you say a word that hurts an oppressed person you’re adding to the sort of shit we all deal with mentally and emotionally. And that’s oppressive too), words influencing mindset is still a problem too. They’re still dangerous. You can’t run around calling people shemale and not make shit worse for trans people. And you should stop using those oppressive words if you’re privileged.
But for fucks sake don’t have that be the only thing you concentrate on whether you’re a privileged person trying to help reduce your nasty impact or an oppressed person fighting the shitstorm around here.
Words are so goddamn easy to replace. Just look at all the alt insults created to avoid oppressive language. You think oppressor classes can’t do the same? You think a giant system built to crush an entire group of people, interlocked with a bunch of other giant systems built to crush entire other groups of people, amplifying each other and existing underneath the surface of every social thing out there like some kind of fucked up hateful Matrix shit can’t possibly find some new words to mess up their targets’ lives?
It’s time to shuffle up priorities. Cuz I watch all the EssJay community obsess over the words and YES, words are important. As a writer I know how powerful they are. But we’re gonna be facing a whole new set of nasty words and phrases if all you do is fight on the linguistics front.
Reading the news this morning was hard; what with the ongoing Breivik court case and everything else from back home, I would have preferred to not also have to read about things that in many ways resonate with my own school experiences. Yesterday, two brothers at a school in Liksjoe (Lycksele, Sweden) were forbidden to speak their indigenous language with each other, something which happened in my school as well, when I grew up.
When I grew up, speaking any language but Swedish meant spending the afternoon in detention where you would be told off for not thinking about the Swedish majority’s feelings - it was always assumed that we had been trash-talking Swedes if we dared use another language - and this in turn was then used as a way to deny people the right to study their own languages at all.
And by denying us the right to speak our highly endangered languages, they’re effectively killed off. In a world where intra-generational language transmission is coming to a halt, the schools have a vital role to play in the revitalization of our languages and this shows that Sweden as a nation simply couldn’t care less.
Before I go into any great detail about the news, however, let’s all remember that I am 25 years old and that it’s only nine years since I left the Swedish compulsory school system. Nine years is a very short time and yet for a country which constantly portrays itself as a Jeanne of Arc of human rights and equality, one would think that the days of forbidden languages would be long gone.
But apparently I was wrong.
Knowing how to speak, write and read your language is an important part of developing your own identity - if you cannot use your own language, you’ll likely try to suppress the parts of it that you’ve been denied.
To forbid someone from speaking their own language is to take their voice and ritually kill it in front of their eyes: it is the physical manifestation of a negative answer to Spivak’s question ‘Can the Subaltern Speak ?’
Now as back then, the reason as to why the school outlawed the speaking of any other language but Swedish can be summed up as a vague ‘it’s to support immigrants who otherwise wouldn’t learn how to speak Swedish properly’ and now as then this claim is completely wrong and only shows how ingrained the idea of the divine Swede is in Swedish society.
Even when we actively discriminate against others, we frame it in a way where our actions can be interpreted as a way of aiding the poor non-Swedes. Sweden is a prime example of a country who still believes and actively promotes the idea of a white man’s burden and there have been so many obvious examples of this in the news as of lately that I’m starting to reconsider my decision to move back to Sweden if I end up with the paid PhD I’m short-listed for.
Fuck it all to hell.
Bolded for the astounding and heart-breaking parts.
This is still happening.
We are still denied the space for using and developing our languages and cultures in myriads of overt and covert ways. In 2012.
And we *keep* hearing about Sweden as an unracist paradise.
~*TW For Discussion of Violence and Mental Illness and Ableist/Heterosexist Slurs*~
Okay, so I did come out around the late 90’s/2000’s when it was still hip to say homophobic and transphobic. Here’s a few things: I have anxiety, and phobias related to PTSD. I didn’t think about it in this concept before, but a few things clicked for me and perhaps it will for you:
1. Using terms like homophobia and transphobia would open up the ‘gay panic’ defense in litigation against people who kill transgender or gay individuals. Because -phobia means fear of, and many people are aquitted of assault/murder charges due to a response caused from fear (for ex: woman kills husband who held a knife to her throat, and is acquitted). While I do believe that some cases of hate crimes are because of fear/misunderstanding, they do not qualify the status of a phobia. People who are afraid of needles will avoid any situation possible related to needles. They don’t actively seek out or engage with someone who has a needle standing right beside them. They would not kill someone who is having a needle right next to them when they can easily walk away.
2. Because of the nature of -phobia words, it would imply that bigotry is a mental illness, thus saying that it is perfectly okay for someone to be an ignorant fuck, because they have a mental illness. Bigotry and racism are taught, not ingrained in us since birth but developed over time from conditioning. And again, by claiming it is a mental illness, means that people don’t need to be charged with hate crime acts; they are simply suffering from a mental illness and was provoked and can be charged on the lesser crime of manslaughter or aggrivated assault and seek parole or a mental hospital ward. People who commit hate crimes should be punished.
3. So what can we use instead of these pretty common words? Note: If I see anyone fucking arguing about the fact these “aren’t real words”, I will hunt you down and punch you in the god damn throat. Just because it isn’t in the white cis-straight ablebodied man’s dictionary, doesn’t mean shit.
heteronormative - the idea that heterosexual behavior is the norm and thus default; i.e. all the characters in a book/tv show/movie are straight and having male-female interaction/flirtations/relationships.
heterosexist - in place of homophobic; someone who calls someone a “faggot”, that person is being heterosexist.
cisgender - the prefix of someone who is identified at birth as male or female and feels in place/comfortable with being their assigned gender and sex. The opposite of transgender.
cissexist - in place of transphobic; when a ciswoman or cisman is making a ruckus because a transwoman is in a woman’s bathroom, they are being cissexist.
Toni Morrison. (via mehreenkasana)
But it’s also important to remember that you always have to go beyond language and rhetoric in order to be anti-oppressive. Non-oppressive language can only go so far if someone’s actions are oppressive.