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Word Count: 688
Allen Huggins The Power of the Spoken Word Words themselves are innocuous it is the consensus that gives them true power Naylor 344 The consensus governs our society because of the power it holds The understanding of the spoken word especially derogatory terms shapes our world because of the power these vile words hold in balancing or tilting race relations The American Heritage College Dictionary defines power as political social or economic control 1072 White America has social control over the consensus but in Mommy What Does Nigger Mean Gloria Naylor shows that African-American minorities can reclaim the power of the consensus and give new equal meanings to words that have plagued African Americans for ages Gloria Naylor uses a young boy in her third-grade class as an example of white Americas social control over the consensus In her third-grade class she recalls the young white boy getting a lower score on a math test and her rubbing it in Upon hearing her mockery he spit out that word 344 He had learned the word nigger as a mode of humiliation probably from his parents showing how white America views the meaning of the word nigger As our countrys majority white America has the most influence on such hateful terms that drastically tilt the racial balance Such influence over the consensus exemplifies the statement language is power because of the malicious manner in which the word nigger is used One small word gave a third-grade boy a sense of power over Naylor that she had never experienced The impact of such words occurs daily because America regards the derogatory use of the word nigger as a singular definition of the word ceasing to acknowledge a positive meaning As an example of a more positive meaning of the word nigger Naylor introduces her southern
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