Intended Meaning in Words – Research Proposal Example

The paper "Intended Meaning in Words" is a wonderful example of a research proposal on social science.
Even though some groups use the racial words to one another but only between them, when they are called that by a person who does not belong to the same group that can cause a problem. The acceptance of the racial words by their targets is the only option they have to resist. Words like "nigger" and "chink," have no meaning for themselves, it is only the proposed meaning that counts as Gloria Naylor and Christine Leong state.
II. Body Paragraph
A. Unite
1. Words can bring people together depending on the way they are used and expressed.
2. Also, these racial words can unify their targets causing problems to the society.
B. Separate
1. Racial words can cause hate between the racial targets and other individuals who do not belong to their group.
III. Body Paragraph 2
A. Unite
1. These words can bring together the racial targets once they adopt the words as their own and name each other by these names that in a time were used to denigrate them.
B. Separate
1. Racial words might bring together their targets but this also separates them from other people.
IV. Conclusion and Connection
A. Words can separate and unite.
B. Relation
1. Although people have become familiar with racial words to the point that they call each other that in the same group or race as Leong puts it using those discriminating words. First, these words can also be used to separate different groups and that’s why we see some races that only talk or socialize with people of their same colour, sex, age or race.
2. In my opinion, no one has the right to denigrate another person, even if people adopt these words including the persons they are directed to, I myself consider we should not name or label a certain group because that may remind them of their past and might be still in some way offensive to them.
“Words can harm or denigrate people just by changing the tone you use when you refer to someone or by just saying it to a particular group.”


Racism is a continuous mortification and obstacle to the development of society. It’s impossible to discredit it and unproductive to declare, however honestly, that a discriminatory word should never be used. Racial distinctions will always be made in some slight form or another, and even the more pronounced racist labelling or word is well-established in the social system and the subconscious. For the fact, efforts to guard against words, to set up barriers, to act defensively, are destined to fail. Even if acceptance of racial words by their target groups has some negative components, it is eventually the only practical option available to them because it is the only option that fights back rather than just trying to resist.
The claim that approval of racial words by their targets is becoming popular, at least in the sense it is frequently used, is far from the truth. Modifying the connotations of these words to include, as Gloria Naylor puts it, "a disembodied force that channelled their past history of struggle and present survival against the odds into a victorious statement of being” (Naylor 408) this is not satisfied with defeat. Naylor’s family gives both positive and negative meanings to the word "nigger." The group toward whom they are least respectful, whether they are using the word or not are not blacks or whites in general but rather blacks with "a lack of self-respect.”Use of "nigger" to describe this group does not identify the speaker with that condition it rather, separates him or her from it. In other contexts, this word carries other meanings, but this particular context proves that it need not relate to the same group with every use.

Words as Naylor mentions are nothing more than "a nonsensical arrangement of sounds or letters that assigns meaning.” (Naylor 406) Even if words can carry connotations of discrimination there is no subconscious accepted meaning of the word there is only an intended meaning and a method for passing on that meaning to a particular audience. Christine Leong adds on this with the statement that "Language has the ability to heal or to harm, to praise or belittle, to promote peace or even to glorify hate." (Leong 412) Words like "nigger" and "chink," have no meaning for themselves, it is only the proposed meaning that counts.
Even when the racial words are used by the original target groups, this still serves to distinguish the group from others. Christine Leong states that this is not always bad "In some ways it has helped us find a certain comfort in each other, each of us knowing what the other has gone through, a common thread of racism." (Leong 415) Using names and labels is what separates us from each other and the adoption of a name or label in a group can cause severe racial problems that may lead to violence when the name is used by a person who is not in the same group or the same race etc.
What really brought up my attention from these two essays was that Leong says that when the words used to offend are adopted by their targets they use them to identify each other, for example the word “nigga” this word is used among black men to label each other and this can cause problems that can usually end in a fight when a young black man is called this by someone who is not from the same race or colour of skin. These words normally used to offend the person should not be used, not even by their targets because this way racism will never end and there will always be conflicts in humanity everyone is the same regardless of sex, age, skin colour, race, language, height and for that fact we should all be treated equally.
Every word has a meaning. To different people, words mean different things and have different effects. And also words mean different things coming from different people. Words and language are strong tools that we use in our everyday life. Essays "the Meaning of a Word" by Gloria Naylor and "Being a Chink" by Christine Leong could be used as examples of how words affect us.
In the essay "Meaning of a Word" Gloria Naylor discusses how a word can mean different things to different people in different situations. Naylor discusses how a word like "nigger" can go from having a positive to a negative meaning due to how it is spoken and by whom. In her essay, the author tells us about her personal experience. She describes the first time she heard the word "nigger". A little white boy from her third grade "spit out that word" (Naylor 406) right in her face. "...I couldn't have been more puzzled. I didn't know what a nigger was, but I knew whatever it meant, it was something he shouldn't have called me."
Naylor is trying to educate her audience by sharing a personal experience. I think she wants her audience to sit back and think about the words they use and how others may use them and how this can affect others. Naylor wants her audience to understand how she was affected not only by a young boy but also by how she didn’t really think about the word ‘nigger’ until the moment it was used to hurt her. Leong was inspired by Naylor’s work and wrote the ways words can be used and gives us some examples in her essay “Being a Chink.”