Terminology

Language matters. The choice of words in a story on historical injustice can shape the perception of this reality. Even more so, it can distort this perception to such an extent that the painful past is transformed into joyful memories. This transformation is based on an intentional use of words, a terminology, determined by the colonizer. Rather than using words that explicitly describe what happened in the past, murder and theft, the terminology chosen leaves room for interpretation. This activity encourages you to identify the terminology based on the perspective of the colonizer and to reflect on alternatives based on the perspective of the colonized.

Watch the following segment from The Uprising

Learning objective

You’re able to recognize and critique colonial terminology.

Activity

Post a news article on an issue related to colonial legacy in which you discuss words that reflect the perspective of the colonizer and offer alternative words that reflect the perspective of the colonized. Share your reflections based on the following questions:

  • How do the words used by the colonizer affirm a positive feeling and sense of pride?
  • How do the words used by the colonizer relate to the actual experience of the colonized?
  • Which words would you use to describe the colonial legacy mentioned in the article?