Language Matters: Being Clear About Illness Vs Hatred

I will start by being clear that I am not a sociologist. So I encourage you to do your own learning and research. However, most people who know me are aware of my anti-oppressive stance. Today let’s talk about the importance of being clear about clinical disorder versus hatred.

Language matters

Language matters. A lot. Not only because of its immediate effects, but also by how it perpetuates systemic prejudices in ways that maintain oppression. 

For example, we’ve heard the words “homophobic” or “transphobic”. The suffix “phobia” refers to intense and persistent fear of something. A phobia is defined as an Anxiety Disorder (DSM-V). Many of us know folks who experience claustrophobia or arachnophobia, for example. 

In contrast, the suffix “misia” refers to hate or hatred. Which is much more accurate when we’re talking about people who take issue with anyone who isn’t cis hetero. For example, “transmisia” and “transmisic” are much more accurate terms to refer to someone who doesn’t like trans people.

This distinction is crucial

We need to be clear about what the crux of an issue is in order to actually ameliorate the problem.

Inaccurately defining hatred as a clinical fear removes the accountability of oppressors, whether as individuals or as systems.

Of course, we can’t stop at language. But changing how we think about things and the structure within which we describe oppression has the potential to help open minds. And if we can do that, maybe we can reach some hearts as well.

Thanks for listening (well, reading), and just reminding you that while I am an effective and people-centered leader who lives with intersectional realities everyday, I’m not a sociologist, so please do your own reading also to learn more about taking an anti-oppressive stance.

Much of my content is about self-empowerment, self-healing and empowering Tarot, so you can read more blog posts about those. If you like thinking about language, you might enjoy this blog post in particular.

If you’re a leader or if leadership is something that matters to you, you might appreciate these posts I have written here, here and here.

Blessings and empowerment to you.

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