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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

Choosing the right words

As a professional copywriter and translator in Sweden, it's of utmost significance to choose words wisely. I want the words to not only describe something, but also to give them the intended value, meaning, association and tone. To ensure not only a right interpretation, but also in a positive and alluring way, to embody an inherent message. (After all, copywriting is about making sales.) It's therefore certainly problematic and worrisome to learn about this list of "inappropriate" words, authored and distributed by an accredited university in the United States.

I would never choose the substitute words suggested, since I want them to hold their original meaning and definition. If I want to describe a North American Indian ceremony, I am not going to call it a meetup. I am going to call it a pow wow. And, it can never be degrading to talk about someone's grandfather, including my own, and using that description. Likewise, to accept a bit of slang, such as in Hawaiian Pidgin (not Chinese like it says on their list) with "no can", instead of "I can't", is simply a local phenomena that creates a certain type of cultural intimacy. I feel pretty proud to have learnt that saying, and thus been included by locals, at least to a certain extent.

So, how do we curb cultural appropriation? Well, that is for the groups of people feeling taken advantage of to voice their concerns. A group of white people shouldn't sit and make conclusions about how black people should to be treated. In doing so, the cultural appropriation rather cements the division.

The list shared by Washington University rather seems to discriminate against spirituality, where the term awakening first began. Ironic, don't you think - can you then call yourself woke?

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