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Copy of Language & Power

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Alicia Garavaglia

on 6 March 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Language & Power

Language & Power
Midterm Exam closes tonight at 6:00 PM
NEXT WEEK IS SPRING BREAK! Don't come to class. I won't be here.

Today: Chapter 9 Language & Power
Cultural Myths
Cultural Myths Presentation Assignment & Partner Sign-up
“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, an inexhaustible source of magic, with the power of both inflicting pain, and remedying it."
- Dumbledore

Words have the power to influence or persuade us
We assign meaning to words
Words DO things

Language & Power
Language & Power
Power is embedded in language
Culture & Power are interconnected

Culture: Our understandings of particular cultural groups
Cultures can be broad (United States culture, Christianity) or very narrow (your family, the UNT chapter of a fraternity)
Political Correctness
Political Correctness
can be used as a
or a cultural shortcut.
We need to be careful not to fall back on political correctness. It can become laziness.
What does that mean?
Rather than focusing on how to always be “politically correct”, we need to be aware of the consequences of the words we use.

Myth 1: Culture is Static
Citing political correctness requires a stable image of culture.
What are some topics about which we must speak with “political correctness”?
Think about those things – how have our views on them changed and evolved (as a culture)? What does this say about “being PC”?

Myth #2: Culture & Power are Separate
Cultures, or the traditions and norms of people, are always situated within power dynamics
Culture and power are not distinct from each other, and it’s dangerous to imagine that they are.
If we do not pay attention to how power is at work in a situation, we’re not getting the whole picture.
Myth #3: Stereotypes are Built on Truths
Naming something politically correctness is a convenient way to create distinctions between “speech” or “words” and the “reality” or “facts” of our experiences
Stereotypes generalize; they do not represent every individual within a culture or co-culture
This becomes problematic when we do not recognize that we are generalizing.
Self-fulfilling prophecy

Myth #4: Progress is Progress
Movement and change are inevitable.
Is change always positive?
Example: women in the workplace.
There are now more women in the workplace.
More than...what? More than “before”? Yes. More than men? No.
So, progress does not always = victory
Myth #5: Color Blindness is Progress
Myth #6:
We're All Making a Big Deal out of Nothing
Telling someone that she or he is exaggerating only diverts the attention we need to be giving to fixing the problem to some off-topic issue.
“This is the essential problem with political correctness – as a figure of speech, it shifts the topic away from what’s at stake in the discussion”

“When you try to be colorblind, you are not blind and unable to see race, but rather, you evade the topic and the implications of race. Such moves perpetuate racism by never accounting for how race is at play in a given moment.”

1. Self-fulfilling prophecy
2. Culture
3. Political correctness (citationality)
Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture. Ethnocentric individuals judge other groups relative to their own ethnic group or culture, especially with concern for language, behavior, customs, and religion.
Self-fulfilling prophecy:
A belief that produces behavior in others or the self that was believed to have been there all along.

Culture: a system of shared meanings and assumptions that draws people together within a social context of shared power.

Political correctness (citationality):
a language device that makes short cuts in our meaning making; this skips over context and complexities to make referencing easier. Inside of PCness this is used to position someone whose perspective we don't share as inauthentic
Cultural Myth Presentations
Partnered presentation

2 myths

1 Culture

5-7 Minutes


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