When the “voiceless” speak
(In response to the disruption of a Bernie Sanders campaign rally by Black Lives Matter activists in Seattle this week.)
A phrase I dislike: ‘giving voice to the voiceless.’ I don’t like this because no one is voiceless. Everyone has a voice. When students write that phrase in their papers, I flag it, and comment ‘everyone has a voice’. It may be very quiet, it may speak in a language that you don’t understand, it may stammer and stutter and use words in a way that the hearer is not used to, but the voice is there. And, let’s be real: the ‘voiceless’ are people who are not listened to, not seen, people who are ignored, discounted and pushed away.
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