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 Sexual Orientation and Linguistics: Dorothy's Article 
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I found the website for Dorothy Allison who wrote our assigned reading for Tuesday and wondered if people's first impressions were similar to mine.

The website has a picture of Dorothy; I always like connecting a name to a face or a voice because it makes the person more vivid than the mere words they write. I pictured Dorothy with short, grey hair, wrinkled skin and soft blue eyes. Well! ... I was wrong. She looks like neither the Victorian suffragette nor the stereotypical dyke images I had in mind. Simply put: she looks like Dorothy should look, not the image I impose on her. I also expected Dorothy to be -- as Rush Limbaugh coined the deragitory label -- a Feminazi, a lesbian who uses reverse sexism against men, or a stereotypical South Carolinian -- a redneck who re-elects the oldest known racist Senator until he dies in office. She proved to be neither, and I found myself nodding and praising her article. I thought this was worth sharing as an example of confronting my prejudices.

Dorothy's article reveals the linguistic nature of discrimination that I also see: it's not what you mean; it's how you say it. Using the third person, like "them" and "us", expresses discrimination despite sending a diverse message (I was going to include an example but found every attempt far too ... insulting for a public discussion :oops:). I believe Dorothy would, as an author, say that I should use the first person, like "I" and "you", to hold myself accountable for what I say about a person rather than a group of "them"; lower a few notches on the teacher position.

How did everyone take Dorothy's article?

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Justin Pittman


Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:16 pm
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I'm glad you put that website on there, its nice to put a face with such a passionate article. I personally found this article interesting to read and enjoyed it. the part that stood out the most to me was when she talked about her sudden relization that when they moved to FLordia she was no longer automatically known as "white trash." I think this goes back to the labels we talked about giving kids. Every child should walk in the classroom with a clean slate and the benefit of the doubt. We may have kids in this situation but it is not something we should assume simply by looking at them. Her opportunity to become someone new made all the difference in her life.

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Torrey Hanna


Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:16 am
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