“Traditional” is one of those words that really needs to be abolished. We hear traditional education, traditional college student, traditional marriage, traditional Christmas, traditional values, etc. etc.
Given that we know or can easily know history, what does “traditional” actually mean.
Upon closely examining the word, any time we say “traditional” so-and-so there are countless direct and/or implied, intentional and/or unintentional microaggressions.
In the case of marriage or the ways in which we celebrate or do not celebrate a holiday or religion, we know that there has never been anything close to universal, monolithic agreement/practices. Likewise, these institutions developed over time as responses to hopes and fears and are constantly changing and exist simultaneously with endless other practices at the same time.
In the case of “traditional college student”- now days, especially with the power and importance of community colleges, there is no traditional college student.
Traditional often implies noting more than forces in power perpetuating the status quo. In other case, it implies some element wanting to keep some kind of “normalcy” or simply, default pattern for behaviors and events.
Whenever we use or hear “traditional” we need to re-think, re-listen, re-analyze such rhetorics and contexts and consider what is actually meant. “Traditional” is nothing more than a placeholder, a code-word, an ambiguous pronoun of sorts. Given the complexity of life, nothing is traditional.
Please visit the full Hidden Power of Words Series here.