I have spoken previously on this site about the power of words. About how the phrasing of certain questions impacts on what we think, how we view others and what we believe. Noam Chomsky is a master of linguistics and often he warns us of the power, and danger, in the language we hear and use. This language should be apparent and obvious to us all but we have become so use to hearing it that we pay no real attention. We don’t question it, and by simply accepting the use of that language, we are therefore accepting the message the language carries.
The most obvious example, and one many people would have heard in the last decade or so, would be that of terrorist and freedom fighter. The label of terrorist automatically positions that person in the negative. They are immediately seen as bad. However, if the term freedom fighter was used then people would be more sympathetic to the plight of this individual. Look at the following fake news line I just invented, “A well-known South African terrorist is behind bars tonight after police arrested him at his home”. By replacing the word terrorist, for freedom fighter, the significance and position of the entire story shifts dramatically. “A well-known South African freedom fighter is behind bars tonight after police arrested him at his home”.