ARE YOU A MINORITY?
In responding to that question, some will often say, “Well, those are just words.” It is true that those are just words, however, we also understand that words have meaning and words have power. Additionally, we understand that words, when used to identify and/or define someone or something, set the perspective for how those people or things will be perceived and subsequently treated.
Consider when the Europeans came to the continent of Africa, their words regarding Africa and the Africans who lived there were, “Africa is a dark continent, Africa is a jungle, the Africans are uncivilized savages” These words justified the brutal treatment of the African people, their forcible removal from their land to become chattel for others and the ensuing colonization of the continent which led to the arbitrary redrawing of centuries’ old boundaries, and contributed to wars and infighting.
Consider when the Europeans came to what is now called America, the words regarding the inhabitants of the land were “uncivilized savages.” These words justified forced removal from their land, their treatment and the massacring of hundreds of thousands who were native to this country.
Consider when the Europeans, specifically the British, came to India, the words regarding the inhabitants of the land were “racially and culturally inferior, and useful only in as much as they could enrich the British Empire.” These words justified the murder, rape and mob lynchings of thousands of Indian people.
Consider in Germany, the words that the Nazis consistently used to describe the Jewish people were “filthy Jews.” These words justified the brutal treatment and extermination of millions of Jewish people.
Finally, consider when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, the words that he used regarding people coming into the country from Mexico and South America were, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…” These words justified removing children from their parents, caging them like animals and the continued attempts to end DACA.
Do you see the pattern? Words were used to diminish, devalue, discredit, dehumanize and even demonize a group of people. Once that process had been effectively accomplished, it made it easier to justify the inhumane treatment of that group of people. After all, they were savages, uncivilized, inferior, filthy, rapist, etc. Again, words have meaning and words have power.
The power inherent in words is that the words are consequently transformed into actions. This transformation underlies the disastrous effect of self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if my words say that my son is stupid and will never accomplish anything, my actions towards my son will be as one who is stupid and will never accomplish anything. Accordingly, my son will grow up to be stupid and never accomplish anything. Alternatively, if my words say that my son is awesome and will accomplish phenomenal things, my actions towards my son will be as one who is awesome and will accomplish phenomenal things. Accordingly, my son will grow up to be awesome and accomplish phenomenal things. Words are transformed into actions that influence outcomes.
If the words say I am a minority, the actions of others and myself towards me will be as one who is a minority. Accordingly, I will be a minority… I will be a minority…