These words are parts of different power structures in colonized settings, even when the colonization is accepting the “defining gaze of the Other.”
If I am empowering you, I am speaking of position of having something you don’t. I am defining your status as “less than.” I am placing the foot of my expectations and beliefs about you on your neck.
If I am liberating you, who has been your oppressor? I am rescuing you from this oppressor, which implies you cannot successfully free yourself. Since, at a subtle level, I define you as captive to something, I am again defining you as “less than.”
From which of these is it easier to step aside? they are both tied up in power structures that may be role-based in different professions. In some circumstances (like HIPAA) resistance is futile. The choices are different.
And still, who has your power? Will you be empowered? Liberated? or Self-possessed?
Enough of this-it’s language and critical thinking which can, yes, make your brain hurt, and it’s important to consider. Now, this is equally important to everyone: whether you’re “woke” or “anti-woke,” power is the key issue you’re considering.
We’d love to help you gnaw on these ideas! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.