Words can inspire great deeds, heroic actions, and confidence in us all as individuals but also as groups within society, and within society itself.
They can motivate us to do the right thing in the face of massive resistance, and help us find the strength needed to overcome any challenges.
We can choose to use words inclusively, to build bridges, and influence the lives of our fellow human beings in a positive manner, create understanding, and common ground where it may have been extinguished or absent.
The opposite is also true and throughout history, we have seen how words have been used to justify and legitimize vicious, and barbaric acts of violence, murder, and systemic oppression denying certain groups in society, equal opportunities, and or other basic human rights based on their gender, religion or ethnicity.
Ever since the murder of George Floyd, one of the words we have been unable to escape and rightly so is Racism.
It has been used often, defined, and explained but yet it still seems to be willfully misunderstood.
Is the lack of consensus or the “misunderstanding” simply based on ignorance or the immense complexities of the term Systemic Racism? Is it a collective, societal denial, a refusal to acknowledge society’s actions, and the consequence thereof, thereby absolving anyone of blame or the shame? Or is the pushback, a counteraction, by malevolent forces in society who are not willing to relinquish their privileges so that others may share those exact same privileges, or do all of these reasons intersect.
Whatever the answer, words matter!
They are our tools and they have been weaponized in this struggle. They can help us move forward or keep us in an endless loop that keeps reproducing the same outcomes.