but today, someone tells you that they are, you don’t have to feel bad about the last x years.
Start today. Learn to do it differently. Let this be the turning point. It might take some time to get it right, but there’s no reason to refuse to try not to harm people.
Sometimes, that harmful language or idea is systematic, and you have to use it in certain circumstances because the systems aren’t willing to change. But the systems—the paperwork, the meetings—don’t have to dictate your personal interactions.
While language is always important, it has a special prominence when the discussion turns to immigration—and race. As [linguist Geoffrey] Nunberg noted about the charged vocabulary around the topic: “The words refuse to be confined to their legal and economic senses; they swell with emotional meanings that reflect the fears and passions of the time.”
…[W]hile some anti-immigrant activists claim that words like “alien” or “illegal immigrant” are neutral, each conjures up a whole host of associations. Nunberg noted that in 1920 a group of college students was asked to define the word alien, and what they came up with—“a person who is hostile to this country,” “an enemy from a foreign land”—hardly qualified as meeting its legal definition.
The same dynamic occurs today with illegal, especially when used to define a person rather than an action, such as working in the U.S. without authorization. “When two things bear the same name, there is a sense that they belong to the same category,” Nunberg told me. “So when you say ‘illegal,’ it makes you think of people that break into your garage and steal your things.”
Are you against all women having equal access to anything and everything that has to do with their sexual health? Are you opposed to giving women the autonomy to make their own reproductive choices, regardless of whether that choice is to keep a child or seek an abortion?
Than you oppose equal and total reproductive choice for women. Therefore, you are anti-choice.
Have a nice day.
The term is inaccurate because most “Pro-Life” people seem to be foreign policy hawks, support the death penalty, and have conservative views about social welfare (i.e. they hate it). Some “Pro-Lifers” are even be willing to let women with dangerous pregnancies die rather than have abortions. Some “Pro-Lifers” have killed and attempted to kill abortion doctors. Many “Pro-Lifers” seem to have no interest in the welfare of children born to mothers who didn’t want them and are incapable of caring for them, emotionally and/or financially.
If you’re really “Pro-Life”, you have to be Pro-Everybody’s Life.
The people at my house are still chewing on that “uppity” thing and the defensive reactions to it. Welcome to chez tart; geeks play video games together, nerds talk about one word for 20 hours. Anyway, there are a couple of things I left off of my rant yesterday:
- The people refusing to believe the word is racist when leveled by a white person at a POC (“UGH not everything is about race”) seem to think “uppity” is a secret litmus test and nobody gave them the memo. They aren’t even reacting to the incident that sparked the discussion anymore, it’s all defensiveness and assertions that White People Get Called Uppity, Too. Whether or not those 6 letters are ~RACIST~ (and if you’ve said that word you are ~RACIST~) really is not the point at all, and yet the conversation is stuck there. The point is:
- If you were a black person in the US not long ago (at. all.), uppity was not an insulting word, it was a violent word. Being called uppity was not simply an accusation leveled at you, it was a literal call to arms - and ropes and torches. Thousands of people were terrorized, tortured, mutilated, and murdered for the mere perception that they had not bowed to white supremacist authority. THIS HAS HAPPENED IN OUR LIFETIME and for decades and decades and decades prior. White kids? It might hurt your feelings to be called uppity, but it’s not going to get you hanged, lit on fire, and printed on a postcard for the profit of your murderers. You sound like a real asshole when you suggest it’s all equal by denying the racist implications of that word in that context.
- No one thinks you’re racist for not knowing stuff. Honest. But when you decide that proving you are not ~RACIST~ is more important than continuing the conversation and learning what you don’t know about the systematic oppression of millions of people over a very long period of time, you are being a shitty, selfish, petulant child and nobody has to listen to you anymore.
This. Especially #3.
You’re not only being a childish jerk when you care more about proving you’re not racist than shutting up and learning something, you’re also perpetuating racism. Racially privileged folks who deny lived experiences of racism are silencing people of color.
By suppressing a POC’s experience with racism, you’re basically implying that POC can’t identify racism, but that you, a white person, can. How is that not racist?
Language does not just describe the world we live in, it also forms our way of seeing things. Exposing children to idiomatic and stereotyped language about gender roles can contribute to reinforcing gender imbalances we’d rather do away with. For example, the expression ‘boys will be boys,’ which is used to excuse bad behavior on the part of a man, reinforces the idea that men supposedly cannot control their urges, and creates a culture of tolerance towards inappropriate behavior (as long as it’s done by a man).
Unsurprisingly, women-centered idioms and expressions tend to be derogatory, as is the case with ‘run like a girl.’ This is, once again, an expression that is used to remind boys that in order to be real boys, they must at all costs avoid behavior that might be perceived as feminine.
When we take the i-word out of the equation, we can start asking why this system is not working, and stop putting the blame for its failures on the people who are struggling to make sense of it—and who are then portrayed as not respecting laws that are inhumane in the first place.
The concept of a person as illegal is one that political operatives manufactured to shut down conversation and stoke racial fears.
Colorlines goes on to discuss how some journalists and media outlets are starting to use “undocumented immigrant” rather than the AP-approved “illegal alien”.
So why is “illegal” a problematic term to apply to people?
…In 2007, Lawrence Downes, a member of the New York Times editorial board, wrote “What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t You Understand?.” In his piece, Downes makes the case that use of the word “illegal” pollutes the debate, blocks solutions and reduces a large and largely decent group of people to a criminality. And a crucial point: “as a code word for racial and ethnic hatred, it is detestable.”
The i-word is not neutral. It is racially charged and has been promoted by restrictionist advocacy organizations like NumbersUSA 4 and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by eugenicist John Tanton. Frank Luntz, a Republican Party strategist, recommended operatives promote use of the term “illegal immigrants” in a 2005 memo, explaining that it would encourage an understanding of immigrants as criminals and create politically useful division among voters. With clear direction to use “illegal immigrant,” the shorthand slur has become just as common among media pundits and political campaigns.
Finally, Colorlines also has its own style guide for covering immigration.
…did you ever notice that almost all of the slurs aimed at men in middle school translate roughly into “woman”? Consider:
There is not a similar set of slurs denigrating women by calling them names that translate roughly into “man.” In fact, in some instances, being told you are like a man is one of the best compliments a woman can recieve (i.e., sports).
So, sure enough, we live in a society where “woman” is an insult. I can’t imagine what more proof of sexism a person might need.
— Lisa Wade, 'Woman' as an Insult
Dances With Fat (via fatgirlposing)
This reminds me of when people (usually privileged) lower their voices when they mention that someone is Black or Gay or Disabled. What is with that?
It’s not inherently bad to be fat, so it’s not inherently hurtful to describe someone as fat. Of course, basic descriptive terms can still be turned into insults if uttered in the wrong tone.
Trivia time! Who said it: a feminist or a nazi?
a) “Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ‘cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.”
b) “All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died out from blood poisoning.
The ultimate cause of such a decline was their forgetting that all culture depends on men and not conversely; hence that to preserve a certain culture the man who creates it must be preserved. This preservation is bound up with the rigid law of necessity and the right to victory of the best and stronger in this world.
Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.”
a) Abolitionist and feminist Isabella Baumfree (a.k.a. Sojourner Truth), at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851 (pictured above).
b) Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf
To the men and women who use the term “Feminazi:”
I suggest you read the above and educate me on how these two individuals are so similar that you feel comfortable embracing this Rush Limbaugh-branded word.
yeah, think about that for a while. no, really.
[image: photo of people at a protest, one holds a sign that says, “What are some sex-positive words for women? Yeah, think about that for a while. No, really.”]
Meanwhile, there are plenty of sex-negative terms for women.
“…Personhood bills intend to enshrine into law what I call the male-centric view of baby-making, the belief that a man creates a baby by ejaculating and that a woman’s contribution of nine months of pregnancy and childbirth are just a delivery system for the man’s efforts…”
It’s so true. That’s why personhood laws essentially outlaw any form of hormonal birth control options, which in the US, are currently only available for women.
Men are the bakers. Women are just the ovens. SMH.
That’s why I dislike the expression, “when you were just a twinkle in your father’s eye”. It suggests that whatever makes you you came only from your father’s sperm and that your mother’s ovum, pregnancy, and birthing had nothing to do with making you a person too. It’s such a bizarre throwback to an era when people thought sperm contained tiny humans curled up inside.
"Though racial minorities could be considered the least-endowed members of the United States in the early 1970s, in the present day, it is unclear whether this heuristic for gauging individual endowment remains proper."