Each year I realise that I’m less and less tolerant of a certain scene of people who talk a great deal about solidarity and struggle, but who – while simultaneously burning themselves out for the great flag or the revolution or some other abstract concept – consistently fail to show up for the oppressed folks standing right next to them in their shadow. It’s not very interesting apparently to do actual work for actual people. What’s the point when there’s less credit to be earned, less fame to be gained and less guilt to be assuaged? Particularly if your identity is based on that performance and credit and guilt. And even more so if you’ve also been benefiting from our exploitation.
Gay or queer? Prostitute or sex worker? Transgender or trans?
Language teachers know this: first we build the concept, then we teach the word. Show the students a carrot then teach them to say ‘carrot’. Mime stretching then teach the word ‘stretch’. But what if language works the other way too? What if the words we use limit and define the way we think and behave? What if our vocabulary changes the way our brain works – and sometimes it’s the word that comes first and not the concept? Continue reading