To hear something made up be called the “other” is the equivalent of the word “dumb,” “lazy” or “irresponsible.” “Wanted” to me.
“My daughter’s sister has a job,” you are likely to tell me. “She’s on a $15,000 salary — in the United States of America. She could never live like that. Is this something that we’re ready to pay our bills with? This is our country and we live here. Do we want to help her out?”
I feel it. I don’t want to help her out so much, but I can’t be the only one with some concerns.
If you ask yourself the same thing, you will likely find yourself being told no. “Oh man, this is just a bad idea, we don’t want to do it,” you’ll say. “Look, that’s just what the guy in the video is like. So let’s shut him down and do something different.”
That’s called “brainwashing,” I tell the person who first suggested this as a solution. It’s another way it seems that you try to force your culture on the ones around you. “This isn’t what my culture teaches,” they’ll cry, but “it is how we are.”
This isn’t the first instance of the word being taken out of context to be applied in bad ways with the intention of reinforcing its “otherness.” A New York Times article about a student group at Dartmouth College referred to a black member as a “black, homosexual male.” In response, the group changed the name to “All People at Dartmouth.”
At an event at the University of Maryland, a professor said on Twitter that a student who was a “token Black person to me” needed to have her “token black, gay male body removed right now” for the university’s sake.
Last year at Virginia Commonwealth University, a professor tweeted a picture of a student holding a “Free Speech Week” sign reading “#WhiteGirlsStrip.” Students on the campus immediately tweeted about how “hate speech” was being censored by the school and called for the school’s president to fire the professor.
As the above examples illustrate, the words “other” and “different” are being used not just to make people feel uncomfortable, but also to dehumanize, denigrate, and otherwise dehumanize people. There is something quite evil at work in the way language is used to dehumanize,
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