I Want to Talk About Race But I Don’t Know How

"At the most basic linguistic level, we could say that the speaker knows the semantic properties of a word, in particular what concepts it invokes, what its descriptive limitations are and how it’s used in discourse. These are all necessary components of ensuring comprehensive communication between parties.

Now ask yourself, what does it mean to not know a word? At the most basic communicative level, it means that a speaker can identify neither the concept he or she wants to discuss, nor its semantic delimitations, rendering him or her unable to engage in meaningful discourse.

It effectively eliminates all possibility of communication and ensures that we cannot talk about race because we simply don’t have the words to do so. We are thus receiving a very clear message: don’t talk about race.

The effect of this “wordlessness” bears out uncomfortable dialogues between people who don’t want to sound racist and those who are tired of explaining racism. We are essentially trying to speak to each other in a language that does not exist. Is it any wonder that we are all exhausted by race issues?"

My entire entry can be read here: https://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/special-issue-i-want-to-talk-about-race-but-i-dont-know-how