Words Matter – Using Language to Perpetuate Discrimination

Language can be used to flatter or fight.

Language is often used to perpetuate discriminatory practices. In the post racial era of the ’90s and early 2000s, instead of using race to discriminate overtly, the criminalizing of African Americans became a new way to apply labels and systematically discriminate under the auspices of the law. “Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color ‘criminals’ and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind” (Alexander, p. 2, 2012).


Alexander, M. (2012). New Jim Crow, The. Ohio St. J. Crim. L.9, 7.