Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Towering Babble

 

Back in 1946, George Orwell expressed his doubts about, Politics and the English Language in an essay with that title. If he was correct then that politics was corrupting  language, it's even more true now. Only today, it's not just politics. Social media and a tribalized electorate isolate Americans into conflicting subcultures.

Those who spout unreasoned political nonsense abuse both language and factuality. But one only needs to look toward academia to find serious language corruptors. Academicians abuse language by making it inaccessible to the more than two out of three Americans without college degrees. I suppose academicians coin new terms as a substitute for new ideas. It's a dangerous practice.

Take the term, critical race theory. What does it mean? The term invites attack. If instead, one promoted teaching the history of what really happened, who could object?

Another term I can do without is systemic racism. The word "systemic" bothers me. Without knowing which system, political, social, financial, or educational, is under discussion, it's impossible to address the problem. If I said instead that racism was culturally embedded, I'd be providing a better description of the problem. The seeds of racism are found in children's rhymes, folk tales, ethnic jokes, and locker room talk. Racism is embedded in American culture and that is where it must be sought. Only by understanding its cultural manifestations can we understand how it's embedded in different systems within our culture and its subcultures.

Reminder: my book is free from Amazon beginning Thursday, July first.



 

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