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      /  Language   /  Linguistic suppression and the spread of racism

    Linguistic suppression and the spread of racism

    Written by: Roqayeh Kabiri

    When in a multinational country, a single language is legally recognized, that language is given a symbolic value by the source of power, and  it is prioritized over all other languages and cultures.

    Without the consideration of population statistics, the language and culture of other nationalities are pushed to a lower rank. And other political, cultural and social relationships follow the same valuation. This valuation questions the basis of philosophy and the function of language.

    And thus, consciously or unconsciously, the racial  superiority of one linguistic population is institutionalized in the whole society. Social, political and cultural classifications are made by prioritizing that language. In a country like Iran with so much linguistic diversity, only one official academy, the academy of the dominant language, is allowed to operate. Ignoring and not recognizing the legal status of so-called unofficial languages clearly reveals their unequal status in all spheres.

    An important issue that cannot be ignored is that the source of power takes advantage of the elites and educated people who belong to informal language communities to value other languages.

    In this way, the educated people of this linguistic community give a higher value to the official and dominant language and try to force many other linguistic communities to accept the high value of the official language and the low value of the informal languages. By advancing such a policy, cultural productions become monopolized by the official language.

    In a mosaic country like Iran, there is a coexistence of numerous, diverse languages and cultures with a long history. Alas, today, the idea of a uniform linguistic community remains an illusion. It is not possible to implement such a society in the current situation.

    Source: End of Monolingualism