Black and White: The Bias Ingrained in our Language

I was reading a book a couple of months ago that mentioned the biases in English. It pointed out how although most words relating to humanity are masculine (mankind for example), the vast majority of those words that are negative are attributed to females. Obviously, the biases in our language are impressed upon our psyche as well, as women are judged more harshly than men in society. The book didn't mention English's bias regarding race, but of course, one has to take this in account as well. Calling Europeans "white" and calling Africans "black" for a life time must lead one to associate the races with the attributes that the words carry respectively. With this in mind, I will post the definition of each (from M-W).

White: free from spot or blemish: free from moral impurity : innocent: not intended to cause harm: : favorable, fortunate: marked by upright fairness: of, relating to, characteristic of, or consisting of white people or their culture from the former stereotypical association of good character with northern European descent (I find it a bit curious how it says "former." They are still associated with good because of this.)

Black: dirty, soiled; thoroughly sinister or evil : wicked: indicative of condemnation or discredit; connected with or invoking the supernatural and especially the devil; characterized by hostility or angry discontent: of or relating to the African-American people or their culture

I refuse to believe that the words we use to describe good and evil everyday has no affect when we use those same words to identify ourselves. I'm not outright condemning the usages of the words black and white entirely, but I'm giving you something to think about. Honestly, however, I look foward to the day when such biased language is not used to describe races.


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