In the age of Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, there comes self deprecation. To combat the never ending feeling of insecurity, it has become common to “hype” up others in efforts to give them validation that will hopefully help them see how great they really are. A word commonly used by a hype-(wo)man is “queen”. In this context, “queen” is used as a term to describe “a woman or thing regarded as excellent or outstanding of its kind”. Sounds amazing, right? But no. Although saying this word usually comes from a place of adoration, the historical significance of it doesn’t make it sound like one to use in that context. 

The British have a long history of colonization – “the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area”. It was then that British culture was forced on to the colonists, while the original culture was banned, ignored, and forgotten. The Empire also took the land and resources from the colonies, leading to the near-extinction of many indigenous tribes. In these circumstances, a queen is defined as “the female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth”. When asked about any royal family, specifically a queen, many people only seem to acknowledge the British Royal Family (in particular Queen Elizabeth) as the face of it all. Dating back to a few hundred years ago – the peak of British colonization- it was the British Royal Family that condoned, if not promoted the hostile takeovers. 

While the current Royal Family is not responsible for the years of tyranny the British Empire put upon the colonized, the monarchy is still built on means of colonization and oppression. Many British people insist on maintaining the image of the monarchy to satisfy the national soul. The British as a whole seem all too oblivious to the wounds that are still held by the descendants of the colonized peoples. Despite ALL this, a highly esteemed compliment is being referred to as a “queen”. A queen back then would be one who allowed the subjugation of indigenous peoples. Therefore, being called a “queen” should, in theory, not be a compliment. 

As time evolves and individuals begin to comprehend the concept of being politically and morally correct, it is important to assess other possible negative effects of the teachings of the society we grew up in. Be it in our own government and respecting authoritative figures who enforce our systemically racist government or giving the Royal Family its title after years of British brutality, it is important to re-evaluate the roles we are taught to respect solely because the world we live in led us to believe they deserve it. If words like “queen”, which hold such a powerful history of oppression, could potentially be associated with a positive connotation, imagine what other atrocities society has masked with so called positive associations. Oftentimes things like this are overlooked, but it is important to call them out. Like Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” You must speak out, be heard, and raise awareness. Inhumanity should not be glorified.