This Week's Program: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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EDITED VERSION FOR WFTE - SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA
DEMELZA CHAMPAGNE, JOHN FREISEN, JAKE LITTLE, JEREME AMOUAK and FARREL - NEW YORK - All join in a discussion about the current "Occupation" movement and the use of language.
"To most, the irony of a progressive social movement using the term “occupy” to reshape how Americans think about issues of democracy and equality has been clear. After all, it is generally nations, armies and police who occupy, usually by force. And in this, the United States has been a leader. The American government is just now after nine years ending its overt occupation of Iraq, is still entrenched in Afghanistan and is maintaining troops on the ground in dozens of countries worldwide. All this is not to obscure the fact that the United States as we know it came into being by way of an occupation — a gradual and devastatingly violent one that all but extinguished entire Native American populations across thousands of miles of land." "In this sense, Occupy Wall Street has occupied language, has made “occupy” its own. And, importantly, people from diverse ethnicities, cultures and languages have participated in this linguistic occupation — it is distinct from the history of forcible occupation in that it is built to accommodate all, not just the most powerful or violent." "Occupy Language might draw inspiration from both the way that the Occupy movement has reshaped definitions of “occupy,” which teaches us that we give words meaning and that discourses are not immutable, and from the way indigenous movements have contested its use, which teaches us to be ever-mindful about how language both empowers and oppresses, unifies and isolates." "By occupying language, we can expose how educational, political, and social institutions use language to further marginalize oppressed groups; resist colonizing language practices that elevate certain languages over others; resist attempts to define people with terms rooted in negative stereotypes; and begin to reshape the public discourse about our communities, and about the central role of language in racism and discrimination." excerpts from H. Samy Alin's article What If We Occupied The Language?