The Power of Words
As the saying goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Many of us grew up hearing this yet how many believe this statement to be true. Words can be very powerful and develop negative stigmatisms based on the context in which they are used. Many words used today have strong political implications attached to them such as, “Pro-choice, pro-life, illegal Alien or Jihad.” So what do these words mean to us personally? And what kind of emotional response do they evoke?
When many Americans are confronted with the word jihad their reaction is negative. As an individual what is your reaction when you hear the word jihad? Jihad has two meanings, the first being ‘a holy war undertaken as a sacred duty by Muslims,’ and the second being ‘any vigorous, emotional crusade for an idea or principle.’
In the past people have started campaigns to change the meaning of words or reclaim them. As stated on, “On the media” this week, Ahmed Rehab has started a campaign in hopes of reclaiming the word to express ‘internal struggle.’ So far images for his campaign have already been displayed in various places in the United States. Additionally, individuals in other countries have taken interest in the campaign to reclaim a positive use of the word.
Since our culture in America has become so diverse there seems to be a movement to be an increasingly accepting society. Hopefully this shift will continue and people will began to view these negative connotations as outdated slurs. Conclusively it seems apparent that the old childhood rhyme, ‘words will never hurt me’ is an understatement. Words are very powerful.