Sunday, April 02, 2006

Words Matter..........

Words Matter: "It is language that provides the key tool for communicating prejudice interpersonally and cross-generationally." ~Mass, A and Arcuri, L., *Language and Stereotyping* in Stereotypes and Stereotyping, Macrae et all, eds. 1996, New York: Guilford, p 193.

The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right name. ~Chinese Proverb

"Changing how the public labels categories changes the associations those labels invoke in people's minds, which in turn changes their affective attitudes toward what is being described." ~David Green, Hofstra University

There is a discussion on the Downsyndrome Listserve that I have been watching. I am in awe of the eloquence and grace that one of the participants is displaying [and quite sickened by anothers]. The topic is of words, and what does it matter if someone uses the word 'RETARDED' as an insult.

It matters......Words Matter.

If I am in the presence of someone using an inappropriate word [be it RETARDED or any other pejorative, I correct them. If they need further enlightenment to why the word they used was wrong and hurtful, I teach....but most times, ["That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life but in a new way."~Doris Lessing].........what I am doing is what any parent does [or should do] with their children...teach them the correct usage of words and to not use derogatory, disparaging, belittling words against another. It is is healthy.

My daughter has Trisomy21.........she has various forms of retardation, I have no problem with the word if used correctly. Words Matter and when one uses a word as a pejorative in my presence, I let it be known that I take offense to it and try to enlighten to the reason why.

Oh, and a side note about WORDS. It has been quite interesting for my children to learn about words in German from our German exchange student. Words matter and when they are trying to translate the "RIGHT" word from English to German,,,many times a word chosen is close....but it is not right, and they will search further for the "RIGHT" word.....because WORDS [especially those that convey emotions, thoughts, and culture, truly do matter]


Michelle said...

Great post Tara Marie! It is so true that words matter and I liked your analogy about your kids learning some German and making sure they are translating the right word.

Kari said...

Great Analogy. Words definatley do matter.