February 6, 2009

The Names of Things

Recent conversations have had me reflecting on how complicated language can be, with its built-in meanings and assumptions. Nothing seems to me to be more complicated and more political than names. What we call things is so entrenched with power relations that it can be confusing and even absurd. To wit, a fascinating article called "From Negro to Black to African American: The Power of Names and Naming" by Ben L. Martin (1991). 

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