Tuesday, April 12, 2011

language can build solidarity

"Language and the human spirit are inextricably intertwined. We interpret the world through language. We express ourselves through language. Language is powerful. Language can bring us together or set us apart. It can be used to include — to bridge barriers between cultures, religions, worldviews — at the same time as it can be used to exclude by inflaming xenophobia and racism. Language can establish community and solidarity at the same time as it can be used to erect boundaries and divide communities. More often than not, when we turn on the TV we see language used to occlude — to hide reality — to deceive, to spin, to distract, to disempower, to reinforce us versus them conceptions of humanity. Language is no longer innocent. We can no longer conceptualize language as some kind of neutral code that can be taught in classrooms in splendid isolation from its intersection with issues of power, identity, and spirituality." – Jim Cummins, Language and the Human Spirit (2003)
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