sticks & stones & words & bombs

This post discusses harmful language & trigger warnings apply accordingly.

Language evolves. That fact is undeniable. Language is a manifestation of social attitudes, & used to justify societal norms.

What I would like to point out is that language co-opts existing words & gives them new connotations, rather than inventing new words.

Let’s use a perfectly harmless example: singular they.

When we consider that ‘agnostic he’ as a universal marker of human beings erases women, we need to propose a new word that has the same denotation, but without the connotation. & as per my assertion, we find that language co-opts a plural pronoun ‘they’ rather than employ a gender neutral singular such as ‘ou’ or ‘ze’.

So it’s not such a stretch to understand that words that are used to harm & marginalise can be co-opted to have new connotations.

This is the important bit: their denotation does not change.

Let’s use this example: crazy.

How many times have you heard it? That’s crazy. I drove like crazy today! That’s a crazy scheme. I’m crazy for chocolate.

When you say ‘that’s so crazy/insane/lame/retarded’, & your connotation is negative, your enthymeme is: people with disabilities (visible or invisible) are undesirable. Unpleasant. Thoughtless. Reckless. Absurd. Terrifying. Silly. Preposterous. Irresponsible. Unthinkable. Unbalanced. Outrageous. Inappropriate. Scary.

Source.

Notes

  1. auspiciousme reblogged this from thesadnessofpencils and added:
    I’ve been thinking about this most of today.
  2. niente-dal reblogged this from wonderbecky and added:
    ^This person, right here. I think. I don’t know, and I think that’s the point, that I don’t know, so people please need...
  3. notemily reblogged this from kiriamaya and added:
    But don’t you know, anyone who kills people MUST have a mental illness, because NORMAL people don’t kill anyone!...
  4. rabbithugs reblogged this from lecorbeau and added:
    ; w ;
  5. lecorbeau reblogged this from makinguplife and added:
    I’m glad you’ve used this opportunity to learn, I really am. The only way things can change is if people are willing to...
  6. wonderbecky reblogged this from makinguplife and added:
    HOLY HOT SHIT THIS IS LIKE THE MOST CIVILIZED DISCUSSION ABOUT PRIVILEGE THAT I HAVE EVER WITNESSED ON TUMBLR OH MY GOD...
  7. makinguplife reblogged this from junkmanchoir and added:
    So after reading pretty much all of the reblogs of my original post, I’ve realized this: I was wrong. And for that, I’m...
  8. thesadnessofpencils reblogged this from junkmanchoir and added:
    We don’t even know who the Ripper was, a psychiatric diagnosis is out of the question. Otherwise, COMMENTARY!
  9. kiriamaya reblogged this from junkmanchoir
  10. junkmanchoir reblogged this from makinguplife and added:
    K, so. Other people are responding to this in ways that are probably more eloquent than I can manage while still...
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