We all know that things are very divided when it comes to certain words and phrases in this society. If you are in a certain group, you can say a certain thing. If you are not in that group, you become a monster should you utter the awful word or phrase.
I have a good friend that recently smiled wide and proclaimed that she just learned that she is .004% black according to her “23 and me”. She seemed to be very proud to be suddenly inter-racial, I thought it was really cool. A little later and after a few drinks she began to explore the idea that now suddenly she has more words available in her vocabulary than she used to. She sort of jokingly wondered how she might be able to break out the new vocab. It stunned me when she shared that idea. She has a point I never really considered. She didn’t try out her new vocab around me, but it really got me to thinking.
About this time, my social media feed encountered a video posted by another friend. The video showed her nephew, a very cute 11-year-old boy, dancing to demonstrate his proficiency on a recent craze called the “Mop dance”. The video is basically pretending to mop and do a dance about it. The use of a certain word in the music was very subtle in some areas and very “in your face” in others. The word is celebrated, like the singer was very proud to identify. It is a silly craze that seems to be celebrating synchronized mopping skills. I got it, its just a dance, maybe it’s a celebration of the past, I don’t know.
What is it about words that make them so powerful? Do I have words in my quiver that maybe others don’t have and don’t realize it? Are there words that can be used that would hurt me in the same way that certain words hurt others? As I think about my wonderful friend, I wonder a little about her and her new vocabulary? I’m interested to see how she uses it.