It is said that there is power in the tongue which is why words are so significant. Words can convey a whole heap of meaning, making language so beautiful as well as frightening. Here are a list of words that bother me and evoke negative feelings:
Nappy – first of all, you’ll never see me describe my hair as nappy. Nappy is a perjorative term that was used to degrade and devalue Black women’s hair and I am not here for it. My hair is not unruly, it is not something that needs to be tamed and it is most certainly not unmanageable. When I see other Black women and men use this term to abuse another ‘ethnic minority’a part of me weeps inside. ‘Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair?’Internalised racism is still alive and thriving.
Urban – this word grates on my very soul. Urban is not synonymous with Black but most people use it as a PC friendly term when they stumble around trying not to say the word Black. Why can’t people just say the word, BLACK. Black is not a dirty word. I can’t stand when people say nonsense like urban music and working within the urban community. We all know what you are trying to say, so say it with your chest: Black, Black, Black. There- I fixed it for you.
POC/WOC (person of colour/ women of colour) – I am not coloured. I am not a paint by numbers drawing. No-one sat down and coloured me in with flipping crayons to make me this complexion. If I am a person of colour then what the heck are you? Colourless. Let’s just stop with this asinine term!
Ethnic Minorities – I understand why this term was created in the first place, to take into account the disadvantages faced by ‘people of colour’ who did not form part of the dominating class i.e White but I find the term lacking nuance. Lumping Black people, Latinos and Asians into one subgroup fails to take into account our many differences. It puts a them ‘vs’us stance which is quite divisive. At the end of the day ‘we’ including white people are all ethnics.
The’N’ word – to be honest I have a love hate relationship with the N word. It is a disgusting term that should never have been invented in the first place. But listening to my favoritute ‘urban’rap song of the moment I can’t help but blurt it out with gusto as I nod my ‘nappy’ head in agreeance . I feel conflicted at how easy it rolls off my tongue and quickly embeds itself into my vernacular. This word that was used to dehumanise the whole Black race shouldn’t be verbalised so freely yet we do so, within the remit that we have claimed back the word. But have we really or have we just let our opressors win by yet again internalising something that was used to bastardise us?
That’s just my two pence. Let me hear your thoughts down below and let me know of any other words you don’t like?