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Friday, February 10, 2017

New words for a new, turbulent world | Peterborough Examiner

"Like you, I'm trying, trying, to understand this world we are living in." summarizes Rosemary Ganley.

I read. I listen. I discuss. I go to art exhibits and film festivals. I debate with my brother. I drink red wine. I'm getting up at 5 a.m., reaching for my iPad.

And as an old English teacher, I believe we need words, sometimes new words, with which to think. The thinking cannot happen without the words.

So when I discovered three new words this week that threw some light on my confusions, I grasped them with delight.

First of all, American novelist Philip Roth, who is now 83, told the New Yorker magazine his opinion of Mr. Trump in no uncertain words.

"He is ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art and destitute of decency. He is incapable of recognizing nuance and has a vocabulary of seventy-seven words".

Now that's a powerful wielding of words that conveys meaning. But new words?

"Almond" is the first.

Entering the debate which followed the women's march and what it meant or might lead to, we were full of self-congratulation, until we started to see the critiques leveled by black women. One sign said: 'We black women are again cleaning up white women's mess."

Until that blessed day when we are all colour-blind, we will be thinking and speaking about colour. On the weekend, I heard a new word which I think can be helpful. It describes the colour of skin of an Arab or Muslim woman. It is "almond," and the term was offered to me by a Muslim friend in the Nexicom Lounge of Showplace during a coffee break at Reframe Film Festival.

That lounge was an ongoing forum for deep discussion, and there was great food too, from By the Bridge and Silk Roots Fusion Cuisine.

I was telling my friend how happy I was that the Toronto March had been led by women of colour.

"What colour?" she asked.

"Indigenous, black, brown and Asian," I answered.

"Well", she said with a smile, "we Muslims from the Middle East are just beginning to describe ourselves as "almond."

Got it! Lovely. "Almond."

Source: Peterborough Examiner