HOW SMART LANGUAGE HELPED END SEATTLE’S PARALYZING BIKELASH

photo: pexels.com

1. Read through the following article, and as you read, think about who shapes the conversations about bicyclists and cars?  http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/how-smart-language-helped-end-seattles-paralyzing-bikelash

The first thing that captures my eye as a reader and a rhetorician (teehee), is the title of the article, and the photo. If you take out the important “colorful” words in the title, the pathos is taken away. Without the word “smart”, “paralyzing”, and the word “bikelash”, the title doesn’t have any rhetoric. Off the bat, it’s easy to understand that this article is focused on how language should be used and how it is misused.

In the article the author mentions that there needed to be a change in Seattle’s references to drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians etc. Words like “cyclists” and “pedestrians” are considered bad language, whereas people who ride bikes or people who walk are good language. I can see that the debate is focused on changing the negative stereotype bicyclists and pedestrians have because they are generalized as a group to be a nuisance or irritations to the community.

I think that the specific word choices alter the debate because this “identity” is attached to all bikers and all pedestrians whether or not they follow the rules of the road or not. But a person who is walking or a person who is biking is different language that changes the scenario of the sentence and instead makes it a person, a human being, who probably also drives cars and also walks and rides bikes. This wording changes the person’s identity into something bigger than someone who just rides a bike or someone who just walks or someone who just drives a car.

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