The Importance of the Language

Every word we use has a meaning.  It also has the meaning you give it.  One of the most interesting examples of this was the recent debate between Oprah and Jay-Z about the word niger (No, I do not know how to spell it and since I don’t use it, I don’t want to know).  Oprah explained that to her it was a demeaning work and many had paid in blood to get that word eliminated from our vernacular.  Jay-Z said that words can only have the power that you give them and if you take the power out of the word, it is meaningless.

Although I agree with Jay-Z’s point of view, I also believe that out of respect for the generations before his (including my mother), the word should not be used.  You see, I am a white puertorrican, my mother is considered black.  There were too many instances I remember of people asking me about the “situation”.  We have a different word for it, to me racism is racism and there is too much mix in all our bloods for anybody to feel superior to anyone else. 

This is an extreme example of he power of our words.  I have two words I use very carefully.  The first word is “but”.  When you use it, you are negating whatever you said first.  If you tell your kid “good job but you missed a spot”, you just gave your child the message tha their job was not good enough.  You concentrated on the flaw. Is that really the message you want to send?

The second word is “broke” as in we have no wealth.  There are days when I don’t have cash on hand.  Every time I explain that as “I’m broke”, I am giving my brain and the Universe the message that I have nothing.  That is not true.  I have a roof over my head, clothes, food on the table and a beautiful family.  There are many types of wealth and many ways to make money or barter for whatever we want.  There is always plenty if we stop concentrating on $$$ and focus on our blessings.

What are some examples of powerful words that you use in your life?  What impact do they have?

For those of you who have not seen the interview between these two, here is the segment where they discuss the “N-word”  Let’s watch.

Oprah and Jay Z discuss the \”N word\”


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