The word “wiley” has been a constant in my life for a very long time.
I started using it to describe my clothes in elementary school.
In my twenties, I started wearing the word on the shirts and pants of my friends.
In the ’90s, my mother used the word “wholly” to describe clothes.
I’ve had the word for many years, and I’ve only ever been bothered by it when I want to use it in a negative way.
In 2016, when I was asked to contribute to a poll asking what people were most worried about in 2017, I thought, I’m not sure if I want this term in my vocabulary.
After hearing the question, I decided to create my own word.
I created a word for “witness” (I think it was “witch” or “witch doctor”) that I thought was funny and would get some attention.
I was wrong.
The word soon took over the internet.
In 2017, it made its way into many other people’s everyday language.
I wanted to put it out there and let people know that there is a word out there that is not only being misused, but misused in a way that is insulting to everyone, to all genders, and all ages.
The fact that we live in a culture that is so often so afraid of a word, a word that is used for so many different things, has the potential to make it difficult to find words that aren’t racist, homophobic, or sexist.
There is a term for this.
A word that has been misused.
A term that has had the potential for being used as a slur.
I chose to create a word to reclaim a word and help make a difference.