As an organizer and revolutionary, one of the key lessons I have learned is on the importance of language, words, and terms. Language and the words we use are often a reflection of the society we are part of. We create words to represent ideas, institutions, and concepts that we interact with in the material world. Knowing that, as organizers and people who want to change the world we must pay attention to not only the words that others use to describe society and world around them but also the words that we use. The use of the right terms and language can do more to change the mind than any other action you can take. To drive this point home I have created a list of (mostly political) ideas/concepts and what they mean for our understanding of our world. Take a look at the list and think about how we use some of these terms. After you’re done, think about other terms that have hidden meanings that we need to take account of. Continue reading
Much of what I have studied & come to understand through history is that the true definition of an American is to be a White male who owns a home. This definition is crucial because it is based on how assimilation has ACTUALLY worked throughout history instead of how the larger society has told people how it works. As a Black African woman, I fit no where in that definition & my chances of being a “true” American are completely shot because those who define what it means to be “American” never intended for me to be able to access such a status. Many people discuss how the process of assimilating into a specific culture requires the shedding of one’s own culture & history & then embracing the prickly culture of the target/dominant society. The truth is assimilation in American society means that one must lose everything for the hopes of gaining a specific status, gaining approval from the dominant society; but for most Africans, this hope is never fulfilled, never met.