New Liberal Vocabulary

If you read social justice works from the 1960s or 70s (or if you were around then) you’ll notice that the vocabulary of social justice has changed in the intervening decades. For example, privilege (with an emphasis on the benefits individuals derive from their position in the social hierarchy) is now used, instead of oppression (with an emphasis on the disadvantages accruing to large groups of people due to the system).

In general, the new vocabulary words emphasize the individual, as opposed to the old vocabulary emphasizing the collective and the group.

I highly recommend reading the entire article, The Rise of the Post-New Left Political Vocabulary on The Public Autonomy Project, a project of Stephen D’Arcy, a philosophy professor at Huron University College in London, Ontario.

The thing I have noticed is that both vocabularies stem from the particular way of thinking that goes along with a generation and the events that affect that generation. The old vocabulary comes from the Baby Boom generation, while the new vocabulary comes from the Millenial generation. As someone who doesn’t really fit in those generations (or any one, really, as a very young Gen Xer), I find that none of the vocabulary really speaks to me and the way I think, although I definitely feel more comfortable with the new vocabulary. How about you? Which vocabulary speaks to you more? Which one are you most comfortable with? Please share in the comments.

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