Practical Issues > Things to Do > Communicate

Language is Power

Language, as handed down through the ages, as spoken by all, consciously or not, is power. It moulds our attitudes and fashions the personality. The radical thinker will consciously and deliberately change his/her use of language, deliberately avoiding stock phrases and clich�s which are incompatible with his/her philosophical views and political aims; but the majority, who are not radical thinkers, will simply use the language which is current, without thinking, and without realising that they are perpetuating the ignorance of their forebears and moulding a new generation (their offspring) in accordance with their own prejudices and ignorance. Even most who see themselves as radical thinkers, however, and many of those who genuinely are such, will find themselves through habit and social practice using the same phrases as reactionaries and human chauvinists, but they will notice it as soon as uttered, and will consciously do something about it. This will, to begin with, be an ongoing process of self-correction, but, gradually, conscious tailoring of language to make revolution will help to do just that, as pointing out the fallacy of terminology and clich�s which are generally accepted will set other people thinking.

Human chauvinism can be embarrassed and illuminated by us catching ourselves out when we unthinkingly use certain terms:

1) Stop using "it" to describe a nonhuman animal; use "he" or "she".

2) Use words such as "people" and "person" when referring to nonhuman animals.

3) Say "I've suffered a bereavement" when referring to the decease of a nonhuman animal friend, the same as one would say of a human friend.

4) As with 2), use "someone", not "something", when speaking of a nonhuman animal.

5) Do not use terms such as "put down" when referring to the euthanasia of an animal. If euthanasia, use the word euthanasia. If wanton killing, use the word murder. Pick people up on this when they use the conventional terms.

6) As with 5), say "murder", not "slaughtering", when referring to the killings in abattoirs.

7) Use the word "funeral" in connection with nonhuman animals too.

8) Use the term "corpse-eater" instead of "meat-eater". Say "corpses" instead of "meat".

These are some changes one can consciously make in daily parlance, which will set other people aback and hopefully start them thinking about their language-use too.

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