I Challenge Language

calvin language

BY: CHELSEA TAYLOR

Language is such an essential part of everyone’s day to day experience that it’s difficult to even understand how significant it is to communication, relationships, and emotional security. After living on campus for two years and being surrounded by college aged individuals continuously, I learned that not everybody understands how the language we use or the words we say impact each other.

I would walk through the halls hear the words “retarded”, “gay”, and even “rape” used as slang, it becomes clear that this is behavior that negatively impacts people and the campus as a whole. I would sit in the beanery and hear students talk about “rape” while referencing a video game, wrestling, or other forms of competition in an effort to feel superior. To a sexual assault survivor this could feel devastating. I would be in the quad and hear someone say that a specific thought, feeling, or person is “retarded”. This term is highly offensive and detrimental to anyone with or related to someone who learns atypically. But how we use language extends even beyond inappropriate uses of slang.

I Challenge Language is a student organized photo campaign constructed to highlight the importance of language in forming relationships, treating one another with respect and dignity, and portraying the image of Christ both on campus and off. The words we use can affect people differently based on their backgrounds and life experiences and should be treated with consideration.

As NCU continues to release these photo statements twice a week, you are invited to participate in the conversation and think critically about how we can all improve on the way we speak to each other, the words we choose to use, and how to best resemble Christ’s love always. Release your own photographs with the hashtag #IChallengeLanguage on social media, and share the photographs that students, professors, and other leadership share.

Everyone can take a stand by describing how you challenge language or what sort of language you are personally challenging.

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