Tone it down a bit!: euphemism as a colonial device in Australian Indigenous studies


In a previous article discussing the politics of language in Australian Indigenous Studies teaching and learning contexts, my colleague and I stated our objective in writing that article was to ‘‘instill’’ a sense of the importance of the political nature of language to our student body (McGloin and Carlson 2013). We wanted to engage students in the idea that language, as a conduit for describing the world, is not a neutral channel for its portrayal or depiction; rather, that it is a political device that is often a contributing force to racism and the perpetuation of colonial violence.While reviews of the article were favorable to, and enthusiastic about its aims and content, and some suggestions for refinement helpful, one of the reviewer’s comments presented a quandary: we were advised to replace the word instill (as in the above context) with develop, a term considered ‘‘less invasive.’’ In stating that our aim was to develop a sense of the importance of language, we were advised, our article would better ‘‘recognise the varying trajectories of student learning.’’ After much consideration, we declined this suggestion contending that the word instill fit the aims of the article in that were introducing a practice that would inculcate the importance of language in Indigenous contexts

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