Racism in the English Language
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Language is an integral part of any culture in the world. It shapes our thoughts and expresses our ideas. It brings out a society’s attitude and the way it thinks. If a certain culture is viewed to be racist, then the language it uses is racist as well (Moore 36). There are various aspects of racism in the English language. One of these aspects is the color symbolism. In many cultures, white is always portrayed as being positive, while black is seen as negative. Black is defined as being evil, malicious, wicked and sinful, while white is seen as being morally upright, innocent, and free from evil doing. Above all, the most common belief is that angels are white while devils are black. Movies show good people clad in white, while bad people are dressed in black. Definitions from various dictionaries depict white as being fair of complexion, pure and innocent. These definitions have really affected the standards of beauty in many cultures. Being white is represented as the norm and any deviation is the otherwise. In the American culture, white youngsters are provided with a false sense of security (Moore 37-38).
There are three terms that distort our view of reality; being culturally deprived, underdeveloped, or economically disadvantaged. Third world children are viewed as being culturally deprived. This term assumes that the whites are the only ones who are cultured, while the rest are not. In real sense though, the third world children are mostly bicultural. They grow up in their own culture unlike the whites who are deprived of their culture. ‘Underdeveloped’ is a term which refers to the poorer nations which were under colonial rule. Nevertheless, history states that the underdeveloped countries were extremely exploited by the richer nations. As such, they might as well refer to them as over-exploited nations (Moore 45). The developed countries are merely shifting the blame to the third world; that it is by their own undoing that they are poor. Some movies and children books also depict the third world people as speaking broken English, or no English at all, and the citizens of the developed nations tend to connect this inability to speak English with being poor or economically disadvantaged. This fact has ignored that racism is to be blamed for this phenomenon. Racism is what has caused the belief of being poor despite the fact that they can speak English fluently.
These prejudices have really affected most of the global societies. They are the real cause of the current differences and inequalities within global societies. One society sees itself as being dominant and superior over the others, and this in turn escalates the amount of hate in the other societies towards the superior one. Despite the fact that the article was written three decades ago, not much has changed. For instance, the perception of color has not changed. White is still being seen as the good or the superior color.
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