Deconstructing Society’s Common Terms

As human beings, we want to be educated on what’s happening in the world. We want to know the latest dances, the hottest trends, and the on-going discussions on issues plaguing society.

As a result, we use significant terms, words or phrases to show others how ‘knowledgable’ we are. However, when we begin to throw around words like objects, we’re unable to fully understand it’s importance. We also begin to mix up meanings and ignore it’s true implications.

I found a few words that constantly come up in conversation or in the media and I took it upon myself to find consistent meanings behind them to better educate myself and hopefully others.


1. A comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.
2. Behavior or speech that is characterized by such comments or actions

Example: “You talk well for a black person.” “So where are you really from?” “Since you’re from the Bronx, do you have a gun under your pillow?” (This last question was actually asked when I was studying abroad.)

Insights: Racial Microagressions, Power, Privilege, and Everyday Life

I think we’ve all faced these accusations/stereotypes based on our race, gender, and sexuality in some point in our lives. A bigger question is asked whether or not these questions/phrases stems from pure ignorance (probably) or just blatant racism/sexism/homophobia etc (probably that too.)

Cultural Appropriation

A term used to describe the taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes, or practices by one cultural group from another. It is in general used to describe Western appropriations of non‐Western or non‐white forms, and carries connotations of exploitation and dominance.

Example: The Katy Perry/Miley Cyrus Situation, Cinco De Mayo


Cultural appropriation has become a hot topic in the past few weeks especially when it comes to the representation in pop culture. There are so many celebrities unaware of how they exploit people’s cultures for their own personal gains. There are many media outlets ready to praise an individual (the one appropriating) and push down another.

Feminism v. Intersectional Feminism

  1. The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

  2. Organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests


The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Insights: Making Your Feminism More Intersectional Is Imperative In Trump’s America, To Understand The Women’s March on Washington, You Need To Understand Intersectional Feminism

Previously, I wrote Why I’m A Feminist and I made it clear the type of feminist I was. I don’t fight for one type of feminism, but all feminism. I think Luvvie Ajayi said it perfectly in her book I’m Not Judging You: “Let’s stop administering the Feminism Membership Quiz, because all it’s doing is ostracizing people and making them feel unwelcome in a movement that is supposed to be about inclusion.”

Diversity v. Inclusivity

The condition of having or being composed of differing elements especially the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization


  1. Comprehending stated limits or extremes

  2. Broad in orientation or scope; covering or intended to cover all items, costs, or services

Example: The American Bar Association said it best: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” 

Insights: Millennials Have A Difference Definition Of Diversity And Inclusion, Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion 

After reading Year Of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, I took diversity out of my vocabulary. Yes, we need diversity in the workplace, media, etc. That should be a given, not a choice. Personally, companies, platforms, people should consider inclusion. These terms might intertwine,  but they’re not the same.

Latino/a v. Hispanic v. Spanish

  1. A native or inhabitant of Latin America
  2. A person of Latin American origin living in the U.S.


  1. Of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal

  2. Of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the U.S. especially one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin


  1. Of or relating to Spain, its people, or their language. The Spanish people collectively. 
  2. Romance language, the language of Spain, standard also in most ofLatin America except Brazil.



I believe it’s up to the individual to identify as they please. Personally, I identify as a Latina. The only thing I have an issue with is people taking it upon themselves to identify who I am or who others are. You have no right to automatically assume someone wants to be Hispanic or Latino. Also, there’s no need to categorize us all as Spanish.

It can be beneficial to take time to learn and differentiate words we consume daily. We should all take into consideration what we say to others and diminish the everyday ignorance.

Credit to the definitions to Dictionary/Merriam-Webster
Featured Credit: Jorien T


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