Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Author Monica Brown speaks about "the power of words"

NAU English Professor Monica Brown Weighs In 
On The Power Of Dehumanizing Language

By Monica Brown

Language is powerful. Monica Brown knows that. She's an English professor at Northern Arizona University, a children's author and a Latina. Until last week, Brown had never heard the term "a deportable" used to describe an immigrant to the U.S., and it left her with an uneasy feeling. In this commentary, Brown says there's a ripple effect of negativity when we use language that dehumanizes people.

Deportable. The prefix de signifies removal, separation, reduction or reversal, as in deforestation or demerit. De reverses a verb's action, as in defuse or decompose. De is not often used with a noun, but it was last week. That's when Republican Representative Steve King referred to one of First Lady Michelle Obama's guests as "a deportable." He tweeted it.
When I heard this description of 21 year old Ana Zamora, a hardworking college student and DREAMer, it felt like a blow to the chest. When President Obama enacted his 2012 executive order on immigration, Ana Zamora wrote him a thank you letter. She said, "I am finally a person in the United States..."
Not according to Representative King. To him, she is a deportable.
To listen Monica Brown’s radio essay visit this link, National Public Radio.

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