A highly developed discourse of justification

Because of the immense influence that English wields around the globe, those of us who speak English have tremendous power and consequently tremendous responsibility. The legacy of the English Bible alone is at least equivalent to owning all the oil in the Middle East (perhaps an odious comparison). It gives its readers unequaled power in shaping global discourse.

Consider the implications of this power for speakers of languages that have only recently emerged from predominantly oral to written cultures, for speakers of “dying” languages, and for speakers of languages and dialects restricted to local use. The very scope of English makes it a ready instrument of empire. It bears within it the imperial history of Britain and America, which includes a highly developed discourse of justification, for colonialism and domination (consider terms like errand in the wilderness, new world, virgin land, manifest destiny, advancement, and progress) that can’t be eradicated simply by legislation or policy, but need to be addressed at the level of language itself – the stories we tell “ourselves” about “ourselves,” the euphemisms in which we cloak our greed, the biases that favor the point of view of the privileged.  

From “Caring for Words In A Culture of Lies” by Marilyn McEntyre – Eerdmans Publishing