same words. different meanings.
Words mean things. And different people use the same words to mean different things. This makes for either mass confusion or fierce conversations. The context of our own self-talk (internal conversations) colors everything we hear and read. These are some recent phrases that may be creating cognitive dissonance:
“epic” – I’m guessing this one is becoming a pop culture slang. It used to be, I think, about those movies with a grand bigger-than-life story, just a tad bigger than classic. Now it’s an above-average awesomeness; a recent referential pointer like “did you hear?”, a filler adjective.
“mentoring” – I’ve posted a handful of blog entries about this one already.
“authentic” – the word itself is all about the real deal. The word “real” gets jumbled in the same mix. The word _implies_ being transparent and vulnerable and unpolished. But, for some people, authentic means being non-transparent, not sharing their feelings out loud, not sharing their weaknesses, fears, and concerns, because that’s their being real.
“racist” – undoubtedly a loaded word. There’s the obviously intentional kind. And there’s the unintentional or blind-spot or passive or ignorant or systemic kind. Some people don’t think passive racism counts as racism. Some think any racial inequality and inequity makes for racism. Some are honest enough to say we’re all racists. We don’t live in a world with a level playing field. Race is a part of that dynamic. Race isn’t everything, and neither is it nothing. It’s also been used as a sign-off.
There are many, many more. The above are a few that came to mind during the composing of this post. Add a comment and we’ll add to the list.