“Generation” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #33

“Generation” (in the context of “social generations,” such as baby boomers or Get Y) might well be another candidate for my “banned words” list! As with “traditional,” “generation” focuses on the experiences and values of those privileged in a given time and place by those same experiences and values. As a concept, it tells usContinue reading ““Generation” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #33″

Banning “Traditional” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #32

As words, “traditional” and “tradition” conceal far more than they can ever reveal. Their connotations often center around static historical, narrow, privileged worldviews. While an outright ban would probably lack productivity, these words are used in such divergent ways, often with ulterior motives, so as to lack any specificity. Thoughts about “banning” the word “traditional”Continue reading “Banning “Traditional” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #32″

“Think For Yourself” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #31

According to Southern mores, “bless your heart” is typically a veiled insult, despite its sympathetic denotation. “Think for yourself” has a similar, contradictory function. Think-for-yourself phraseology appears in my inbox regularly, but only when I have publicly expressed my most original and complex ideas and only from people without any expertise (according to information availableContinue reading ““Think For Yourself” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #31″

“Implications” and the Rhetorical Framing of Critiques – Hidden Power of Words Series, #30

Suggestions that something is classist, racist, or sexist, for example, are often met with dismissively hostile words. People say, “you’re thinking too hard,” “you’re looking to cause trouble,” “you can find [fill in the blank] anywhere if you look hard enough,” “you can’t appreciate anything,” and/or “you’re ignoring the purpose.” I strive to improve howContinue reading ““Implications” and the Rhetorical Framing of Critiques – Hidden Power of Words Series, #30″

The Constitution as a Religious Document? – Hidden Power of Words Series, #29

Scholars generally praise the Constitution of the United States (Bill of Rights included) because it does not mention a God or otherwise include Christianity.  Historians add that this is a further indication, in concert with other founding texts, that the Founding Fathers did not establish (or long for) a so-called Christian Nation. These men wereContinue reading “The Constitution as a Religious Document? – Hidden Power of Words Series, #29”

“Overcoming Disabilities,” Normativity, and Rhetoric – Hidden Power of Words Series, #28

Earlier today I was writing a letter of recommendation for a student. Through the process of describing their academic abilities and experiences, it finally occurred to me that all-too-often how we talk about academic success–for students with any type of difference–is completely wrong. As professors we often think of how much more impressive our outstandingContinue reading ““Overcoming Disabilities,” Normativity, and Rhetoric – Hidden Power of Words Series, #28″

Natural resources are not “free” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #27

“Free” has acquired so many connotations in the lexicon of capitalism that it inevitably calls into focus a structuralist-based binary of free vs. not free. “Free,” in other words, is a term that describes a concept necessary because of our current economic ideologies. Saying something is “free” implies that economic systems are natural and necessary.Continue reading “Natural resources are not “free” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #27″

It’s time to abolish the use of “American” when we mean “United Statesian.” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #26

I’m always kind of frustrated when I hear people refer to the United States as “America” or to its residents as “Americans.” Since 2009, I have been saying that people in the U.S. are best thought of as United Statesians.  As I see it, “America” most accurately refers to over sixteen million square miles in North andContinue reading “It’s time to abolish the use of “American” when we mean “United Statesian.” – Hidden Power of Words Series, #26″