Saturday, November 25, 2017

WORDS ~ Weaponized, Intersectionality, Microagression.

I've been noticing some newly "fashionable" words cropping up frequently during my online political reading rambles:


It's easy enough to look up definitions in online dictionaries or at Wikipedia, harder to be sure the meaning has been grasped ten minutes later, or next time one meets these words!

Weaponized is probably the easiest of the three to understand. Traditionally the word means "adapt for use as a weapon". In current journalese they're not talking about weaponizing a pitchfork or carving knife for use in injuring somebody, but about using specific information to affect the reader's or recipient's perception about something or someone, with the intention to cause harm or warp understanding. Here's a headline as example;
How Fox News Is Weaponizing the Harvey Weinstein Scandal

Microaggression - "a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority)".
Wikipedia offers a lot of detail.
For helpful illustrated examples of various forms of microaggression see HERE.

Intersectionality - I try to remember what this means by thinking of it (in a slang nutshell) as referring to someone who experiences a "double-whammy" or even a "triple-whammy" due, basically, to "who they are".
Borrowing from
What Is Intersectionality?

Intersectionality is a sociological theory describing multiple threats of discrimination when an individual’s identities overlap with a number of minority classes — such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, health and other characteristics.

For example, a woman of color may face sexism in the workplace, which is compounded by pervasive racism. Similarly, trans women of color face exceptionally high levels of discrimination and threats of violence. Looking through the lens of intersectionality, it’s not hard to see why: these women potentially face anti-trans prejudice, sexism, misogyny, racism and — due to the ignorance surrounding trans identity — homophobia.

While intersectionality is traditionally applied to women, a person of any gender may be affected by this phenomena of overlapping minority status. A man from a Hispanic background could face xenophobia in today’s America despite being a naturalized citizen. If that Hispanic man is in his 50s, ageism might add to the discrimination he could face in trying to secure employment.


R J Adams said...

I don't know - maybe I'm just getting old and grouchy, but to me we seem obsessed these days with compartmentalizing and pigeon-holing every aspect of human existence. Am I a 'microaggressor' without even realising it? 'Intersectionality' I give up on. It just makes my head swim: "a socialogical theory"? Say no more! There's nothing new about 'weaponized', of course, except the fact, as you point out, that it's meaning has been high-jacked to be somewhat different from the original.
Who makes up these irrelevant elements of speech anyway? What gives them the right to decide what should be placed in the English language? English has way too many words all ready. The French language has around 100,000 words; English has almost double that.
I shall just finish with a "harumph!" and a "balderdash!"

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ You forgot "...and get off my lawn!" ;-)

We could use the advice of a contemporary Thoreau about now -"simplify, simplify!"

Wisewebwoman said...

I follow these news useages with fascination. I do like the term "snowflake" though. It covers the appropriation of women's issues in a new way.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ It's interesting to notice how quickly newly fashionable terms spread on the net - like an infectious rash!
Re 'snowflake' though, WWW - I haven't yet got a proper handle on that one. I thought at first it was just a reference to skin colour, but it seems it's deeper than that.