I think it is extremely challenging to craft words and build understanding in a complex, globalized world. One of my main areas of struggle is with my two core environments, an urban city where I have lived most of the past 30 years and my home dirt, which is a small rural town, agrarian in nature. The dynamics of both beloved environments are very different; and, with that, I have to choose my words very differently in each setting.
I get into trouble with my words more frequently on social media, or in conversations where I forget a person’s background. Many times, I can assume a “white” dominant culture “norm” around language and word understanding. And, that can be perilous. Created white race ways have been the American dominating social norm and our institutional systems have followed these majority culture dominating ways as a country. THAT has not been great from the standpoint of promoting liberty and justice for all, especially with hearing voices and truth from people groups that are labeled minority… And, we have much horrific history to come to terms with around all of that.
Yet, we must all start somewhere and words are still our main form of communicating. So, it seems the best posture with words is asking good questions and somehow preparing our psyches for conversations that might be outside of our own prevailing norms. For many, that can seem like unnecessary or extra work, but humans outside of our prevailing dominant culture norms have been doing it for centuries. My younger African American friends call how they experience this... code switching. It is an intricate system of navigating conversations with shifting your word use, dependent on your lived experiences and the amount of systemic oppression or classism and/or colorism you have experienced.
Hmm... wordcrafting + codeswitching.
Something to deeply ponder before opening the mouth or responding via my mac keys.