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Intended meaning in words - Essay Example

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Intended meaning in words

For the fact, efforts to guard against words, to set up barriers, to act defensively, are destined to failure. Even if acceptance of racial words by their target groups has some negative components, it is eventually the only practical option available to them because it is the only option that fights back rather than just trying to resist.
The claim that approval of racial words by their targets is becoming popular, at least in the sense it is frequently used, is far from the truth. Modifying the connotations of these words to include, as Gloria Naylor puts it, "a disembodied force that channeled their past history of struggle and present survival against the odds into a victorious statement of being” (Naylor 408) this is not satisfaction with defeat. Naylor’s family gives both positive and negative meanings to the word "nigger." The group toward whom they are least respectful, whether they are using the word or not are not blacks or whites in general but rather blacks with "a lack of self-respect.”Use of "nigger" to describe this group does not identify the speaker with that condition it rather, separates him or her from it. In other contexts this word carries other meanings, but this particular context proves that it need not relate to the same group with every use.

Words as Naylor mentions are nothing more than "a nonsensical arrangement of sounds or letters that assigns meaning." (Naylor 406) Even if words can carry connotations of discrimination there is no subconscious accepted meaning of the word there is only an intended meaning and a method for passing on that meaning to a particular audience. Christine Leong adds on this with ...Show more


Racism is a continuous mortification and obstacle to the development of society. It’s impossible to discredit it and unproductive to declare, however honestly, that a discriminatory word should never be used. …
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Intended meaning in words essay example
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