Language Matters


Image Description: The word ‘language’ in a dictionary.

I don’t like when we compare racism to a pandemic, virus, or illness. I hear a lot of that these days.

— This can potentially deflect some of the responsibility for racism. We are building this. We are complicit in this. We do spread it in some ways, no doubt, but we do it quite actively (even if sometimes, subconsciously).

— But even more, when we make this comparison, we are co-opting the language of pandemic, virus, illness, and disability and using it as the symbol to name something as morally evil. In our language, we make associations between illness and moral failing all the time. This increases stigma.

Racism is evil. It is systemic.

It’s something different than an illness.

Renee Roederer

4 thoughts on “Language Matters

  1. “In our language, we make associations between illness and moral failing all the time.”

    I don’t recall hearing this more appropriately and accurately phrased. Hence the prejudicial and judgmental treatment of those suffering from addiction and/or mental illness.

    Yet, the systemic racism caused by our denial of white privilege runs rampant in our nation – nay, our world – and is not recognized as the “moral failing” of those in power AND all enabling those in power!

    When will we, as a nation, become willing to admit and begin to make amends for the immorality of our “founding fathers”. (Not to mention our current “leaders”.)

    This July 4th, for the first time in my life, I actually felt too ashamed to celebrate the freedoms I fought for, as I realized that “Of the People, By the People, For the People” only includes those of us born into privilege.

    End of rant…


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