Peace and security for humanity are at the forefront of my mind; the constant call to eliminate prejudices makes me reflect a lot on the humble little part I can play in contributing to the well-being and advancement of humanity.
One such reflection is that perhaps we are too focused on eliminating the outer manifestations of the inner disease that prejudices are, in the form of being politically correct when referring to certain traits of character. While it’s true that some terms have bad connotations, shouldn’t we infuse them with a new, better meaning, one reflective of a new, prejudice-free world, rather than to let the old, prejudice-laden world dictate what we can or can’t say?
I would even dare to argue that allowing past definitions rule our present choice of words implies that prejudices are alive and kicking. Why is it that I can’t think of how to call my dark-skinned friends for fear of insulting someone–is it being considerate, or is it being ruled by prejudices? In another, more personal, example, I often was called a nerd and a geek in a very derogatory manner; for awhile, I couldn’t stand being called by either name, although fact is, I am both a geek and a nerd. It took a couple of months of work, but now not only do I not mind being called so, but I am very proud to be identified as such.
I’d love to hear from people who have been the victim of prejudices: what names were you called, and do you still associate it with the bad connotation it was given? Do you think these words have to be eliminated, or can they be rehabilitated?
I have the impression that awareness of the undertones of some words is a great first step; whatever the next step is, whatever the road we have to take to eliminate prejudices, I do think that words previously associated with negative connotations are going to make a triumphant comeback, sparkling with a new, prejudice-free meaning.