viernes, 22 de mayo de 2015

The power of words

Are we really conscious of what we say things? Can our words mean something completely different for other people?

We all know that communication is based on specific words with connotative meaning of each language. But we often forget that there is also a denotative meaning given by the historical, social and cultural context of a particular group.

When we start learning a new language is important to recognize that the words given by the dictionary will not always be useful for us to communicate properly, because if we do not understand the context in which they apply, we will not achieve the receiver to understand our message clearly.

The N-Word in North American is attached to a past of violence, segregation, discrimination and slavery associated with black and brown bodies, treating African Americans as second class citizens or worse. As early 17th century the word “negro” evolved to “nigger” as intentionally derogatory, and it has never been able to detach itself from this unwanted and painful meaning.

The conflict with this word lies on two different yet current perspectives:

On one hand it is the word as an insult that has tormented generations of African Americans. Linked to a history of violence, brutality and derogatory actions rooted on the psyches of African American people.

And on the other hand, is the meaning used lightly on the pop culture. For instance, the popular song call "My Nigga" by American rapper YG, that shows off for the world the N-Word as a synonym of "dude", "brother" or "friend".

All this leaves at the discretion of each, old or young, the use for this word. This could be dangerous because It can be used just as word but it can also be somethins way more meaningful.

Here I leave a video to help us understand the perspective of real African American people nowadays. Lets not forget that language is powerful. And as U.S Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. posits:
 “ A word is the skin of a living thought”. 

2 comentarios:

  1. I think that word was generated in a specific and very sad context, we know it, so it never take away the essence of its origin.
    This word can always be seen as an insult because of its history, and I think that trying to change its connotation is to ignore the sad reality that was behind.