Education

Racism and the English Language

Language is a vital component of any culture. Language changes in parallel with a society’s historical, economic, and political development; it also reflects the society’s ideas and thoughts.


Language does more than just express ideas and concepts; it also shapes them. If someone believes that the dominant White culture is racist, one could expect the language, which serves as a vital cultural transmitter, to be racist. Whites, as the dominant group, are not subjected to the same abusive language that people of color are subjected to.

Terminology, symbolism, politics, ethnocentrism, and context will all be examined in this article as aspects of racism in the English language.


Words are, without a doubt, society’s most powerful weapon. A negative statement about someone can destroy their life because the meaning of words can be changed to suit any situation. One of the fundamental reasons for racism in modern culture is that language both expresses and reflects reality. If a society is predisposed to racism, it is only natural to remember that prejudice.


Moore and Churchill’s writings address how words dehumanize ethnic groups by making them appear subhuman. Society is justified in feeling that “others” do not deserve the rights and privileges of the dominant culture when language is used to make them appear less than. Racism is a socially created ideology built up for Whites’ progress at the expense of other ethnicities.


Moore’s article “Racism in the English Language” investigates how language shapes Western thought from the moment taught. Even in relatively harmless terms and phrases, the English language is littered with racial stereotypes and insults. He explains how these terms are not harmless but are instead used to oppress and make people feel inferior to those who are “different” from American society.


Although it is politically inappropriate to use words like “nigger,” “kike,” and “chink” to identify African-Americans, Jews, and Asian-Americans, the terms and their negative meanings have been seared into the mind of White America, with some who do not see anything wrong with speaking them. Even the names of colors have been used to encourage prejudice, such as “Black” and “White.” “Black” denotes “dirty, soiled,” and “beyond redemption,” whereas “White” represents “pure, clean, and innocent.” People who have internalized these views and suffer from delusions of grandeur or thoughts of self-hatred result from these words and meanings. Moore, the author of this article, believes that recognizing racism in the language is the first step toward accepting racism in modern culture. People should make a real effort to use language that is not insulting to people on race.


Similarly, Churchill’s “Crimes against Humanity” presents a forceful argument, claiming that insulting Native Americans by misusing native names, pictures, and symbols as team symbols have marginalized and deteriorated their social position. He says that if the trend of using Native American images and logos as team symbols continues, the Galveston “Greasers” and the San Diego “Spics” should be called after them. Because the dominant culture does not regard using native sports symbols as insulting, it should use other ethnicities as symbols because it is all in the spirit of fun. He says that Native American genocide and deterioration are equivalent to the Jewish Holocaust and that the US should be criminally charged against humankind. White civilization has succeeded in making Native Americans “unreal” to other groups, who accept the racist attitudes of Native Americans, by reducing their experiences to stereotypes. The message in both of these articles is that words are used to oppress and subjugate everyone who is not born White in the country to maintain the status quo. People in the United States enjoy being labelled.


Whores, dikes, and niggers are all labels that must be applied to everyone. Even I have been labelled a delinquent adolescent mother, a welfare-dependent, and a social blight. I thought these labels for many years and plunged deeper into the misery of poor self-esteem until I got to college and discovered that I was intelligent and deserving of respect. Some people are not as lucky as I was, and they continue to believe in the labels that society has given them. I often wonder what American culture would be like if labels were not used.


Some people in this society would be lost if the pretensions and sentiments of superiority with having the “right” skin color were removed. These people need to feel superior to other people to feel better about themselves. I’m hoping that the day will come sooner rather than later when labels are no longer required.

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