Racism in the English Language

Racism in the English Language - Racism in the English...

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Racism in the English Language Robert B. Moore Language and Culture An integral part of any culture is its language. Language not only develops in conjunction with a society's historical, economic and political evolution; it also reflects that society's attitudes and thinking. Language not only expresses ideas and concepts but actually shades thought.' If one accepts that our dominant white culture is racist, then one would expect our languagean indispensable transmitter of culture to be racist as well. Whites, as the dominant group, are not subjected to the same abusive characterization by our language that people of color receive. Aspects of racism in the English language that will be discussed in this essay include terminology, symbolism, politics, ethnocentrism, and context. Before beginning our analysis of racism in language we would like to quote part of a TV film review which shows the connection between language and culture .2 Depending on one's culture, one interacts with time in a very distinct fashion. One example which gives some crosscultural insights into the concept of time is language. In Spanish, a watch is said to "walk." In English the watch "runs." In German, the watch "functions." And in French, the watch "marches." In the Indian Culture of the Southwest, people do not refer to time in this way. The value of the watch is displaced with the value of "what time it's getting to he." Viewing these five cultural perspectives of time, one can sec some definite emphasis and values that each culture places on time. For example, a cultural perspective may provide a clue to why the negative stereotype of the slow and lazy :Mexican who lives in the "Land of Manana" exists in the Anglo value system, where tine "flies," the watch "runs" and "time is money." A Short Play on "Black" and "White" Words Some may blackly (angrily) accuse me of trying to blacken (defame) the English language, to give it a black eye(a mark of shame) by writing such black words (hostile). They may denigrate (to cast aspersions; to darken) me by accusing me of being blackhearted (malevolent), of having a black outlook (pessimistic, dismal) on life, of being a blackguard (scoundrel)which would certainly be a black mark (detrimental fact) against me. Some may blackbrow (scowl at) me and hope that a black cat crosses in front of me because of this black deed. I may become a black sheep (one who causes shame or embarrassment because of deviation from the accepted standards), who will be blackballed (ostracized) by being placed on a blacklist (list of undesirables) in an attempt to blackmail (to force or coerce into a particular action) me to retract my words. But attempts to blackjack (to compel by threat) me will have a Chinaman's chance of success, for I am not a yellowbellied Indiangiver of words, who will whitewash (cover Lip or gloss over vices or crimes) a black lie (harmful, inexcusable). 1 challenge the purity and innocence (white) of the English language. I don't see things in black and white
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This note was uploaded on 03/11/2012 for the course MBA 103 taught by Professor Wise during the Spring '12 term at Salem Intl..

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Racism in the English Language - Racism in the English...

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