Individual Autonomy Social Structure

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Cesar Chavez once said, ‘’Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers’’. Dorothy Lee in ‘’Individual Autonomy and Social Structure’’ addresses the problem of lack of respect for others and the untouched integrity of the individual in the western societies. She also discusses how the use of the language reflects the values of the society, accepts the uniqueness of a person and shows the sense of totality within the people in a community. The example of the Wintu Indians’ wording demonstrates the importance of the language within a society. First of all, the language reflects the values of a society. The concept of word ‘respect’ does not exist in Wintu Indians society. Even though in western societies we would say that they…show more content…
Furthermore, the writer says that Wintu say ‘’I am sistered’’ and they do not say ‘’I live with my sister’’ (p. 8). In detail, Wintu do not use words that show possession; words that shows that something is mine. These words do not reflect the unity that they have as a community. Additionally, they see their ruler as a person like them; he is seen as a part of the community that ‘’stands with the people’’ (p. 8). He is not controlling the people. The language of Wintu Indians increases the sense of the unity that they have as they do not isolate themselves from the whole. They desire to be part of the community. While in western societies the sense of community has almost faded away because people want to be isolated from the whole; they want to be distinguished from their colleagues, classmates and in general from the other people. To sum up, the words and phrases that Wintu use are reflecting the sense of wholeness that they feel, support and want to be part of as they use phrases that consists of ‘’we doing something together’’ and not of ‘’I am doing something with someone
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