Decolonizing Language: Unshackling “Dark” & “Black” from Metaphoric Representations of Negative Attributes

DENIGRATE

  • criticize unfairly; disparage: doom and gloom merchants who denigrate their own country.
  • late Middle English (in the sense ‘blacken, make dark’): from Latin late Middle English (in the sense ‘blacken, make dark’): from Latin denigrat- ‘blackened’, from the verb ‘blackened’, from the verb denigrare, from , from de- ‘away, completely’ + ‘away, completely’ + nigrare (from (from niger ‘black’).

DENIGRATE

  • North American: slur;
  • informal: bad-mouth, slate, do a hatchet job on, pull to pieces, pull apart, sling mud at, throw mud at, drag through the mud; British informal rubbish, slag off, have a go at;
  • rare: asperse, derogate, vilipend, vituperate.
  • ANTONYMS: extol.

DARK

  • literary: crepuscular, tenebrous;
  • rare: Stygian, Cimmerian, Tartarean, caliginous.
  • ANTONYMS: bright.
  • Military: covert.
  • ANTONYMS: blonde.
  • ANTONYMS: pale.
  • literary: direful.
  • ANTONYMS: happy.
  • ANTONYMS: optimistic.
  • ANTONYMS: kindly.
  • informal: crooked, bent, warped, low-down, stinking, dirty, shady;
  • Law: malfeasant;
  • rare: dastardly, peccable, egregious, flagitious.
  • ANTONYMS: good, virtuous.
  • rare: tenebrosity.
  • ANTONYMS: light.
  • ANTONYMS: day; dawn.
  • in the dark
  • informal: we’re being kept in the dark about what is happening: unaware of, ignorant of, in ignorance of, oblivious to, uninformed about, unenlightened about, unacquainted with, unconversant with;
  • rare: nescient of.
  • ANTONYMS: aware.

BLACK

  • literary: Stygian;
  • ANTONYMS: white.
  • literary: crepuscular, tenebrous;
  • rare: Stygian, Cimmerian, Tartarean, caliginous.
  • ANTONYMS: clear, bright.
  • literary: direful.
  • ANTONYMS: joyful.
  • informal: blue, down in the mouth, down in the dumps;
  • literary: dolorous.
  • ANTONYMS: cheerful.
  • informal: shirty, stroppy, narky, ratty, eggy;
  • literary: malefic, maleficent.
  • ANTONYMS: pleasant, friendly.
  • rare: unindebted.
  • ANTONYMS: in debt.
  • ANTONYMS: color.
  • ANTONYMS: spoken.
  • ANTONYMS: equivocal.
  • ANTONYMS: equivocally.
  • the pain hit him and he blacked out: faint, lose consciousness, pass out, collapse, keel over;
  • — informal: flake out, conk out, go out;
  • — literary: swoon.
  • Black has been used to refer to African peoples and their descendants since the 14th century, and has been in continuous use ever since. Other terms have enjoyed prominence too: in the US colored was the term adopted in preference by emancipated slaves following the American Civil War, and colored was itself superseded in the US in the early 20th century by Negro as the term preferred by Black American campaigners. In Britain, on the other hand, colored was the most widely used and accepted term in the 1950s and early 1960s. With the civil rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s, Black was adopted in the US to signify a sense of racial pride, and it is the usual word in Britain today. In the US African American is the currently accepted term, which first became prominent in the late 1980s.
  • melan-
  • related prefix, as in melanin, Melanesia

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Adoyo

Adoyo

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ADOYO is a storyteller, musician and artist who finds happiness when drawing, playing the piano, and listening to stories.