Elżbieta Rutkowska

Languages and the symbols behind them create and change reality. When and from whom can we expect awareness in this respect? Can we expect a discourse aimed at change? Is it a lonely struggle or can we find partners?

If we use our language consciously, we can easily detect the painful tangles of words. How can we use our knowledge? How to promote change in the country where we hear about ‘gender ideology’, ‘negros’, ‘gay propaganda’ and other painful language structures? Looking for hope in Poland, it will be helpful to learn about the Canadian experience presented by Joanna Gierak-Onoszko in 27 śmierci Tobyego Obeda. She shows us how Canada struggled to start to consciously use the language and how hurtful it was to talk about ‘Eskimos’ or ‘Indians’. Such words are used by the uneducated or the ignorant. The debate on the trauma costumes began in Canada when a teacher used a headdress for fun. In Poland, we have school plays with gas chambers, concentration camps, and kids in blue stripe or SS uniforms, as well as the enactments of Katyń executions on town squares... During the workshops, we will look at the Polish verbal landscape and analyse how we could apply the Canadian experience in Poland.

Obligatory reading: 27 śmierci Tobyego Obeda by Joanna Gierak-Onoszko!

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