on the importance of words…

Thanks to my classmate, Shalonda, for introducing me to Sunni Patterson in our Religious Education class.

Sunni gives a definition of a word. A word is “composed of two parts, reflection and action.” I’ve written before about the reifying nature of words. When we speak and write, we make our experiences real. Or maybe Sunni would say, words reflect our reality.

Our words have power, not just to reflect our reality, but to form and transform it. And this is the terrifying power of words– that with our words we can demean and oppress and perpetuate systems of prejudice. “Is it that serious?” Sunni asks. “Yes, it’s a matter of life and death!”

But we cannot let the fear of this power keep us from speaking, for that same power is also the great gift of words– as Sunni says, we “right the wrongs by writing“.

Much is at stake with the words we write and speak. Sunni reminds me to “be mindful of the words that flow from [my] mouth, and with how they come out.”

I’ll let Sunni Patterson speak for herself:

May our speech be “perfect and pure and pleasing to the Force that governs this world. Only then can we say that our work is good…”

3 thoughts on “on the importance of words…

  1. Hey Meredith! Under the video on YouTube you click embed and copy the code. Then, when writing your blog, you can just paste the embed code right there in the body. See if that works… Hope you're doing well!


  2. Just read this while working on my IAM paper:

    “Within the word we find two dimensions, reflection and action, in such radical interaction that if one is sacrificed–even in part–the other immediately suffers. There is not true word that is not at the same time a praxis. Thus, to speak a true word is to transform the world.”

    It's from Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire & it made me remember this post right away. I think you'd like it. 🙂


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