With the end of President Donald Trump’s first year in office fast approaching, Dictionary.com has delivered the perfect social commentary by deeming 2017’s Word of the Year as the sadly appropriate “complicit.”
In light of last year’s upsetting presidential win, ensuing administration and Twitter shenanigans, this country has seen an emergence in activism. However, too many people are still standing by and merely watching as the country descends into chaos.
Hopefully, with Dictionary.com reporting a 10,000 percent increase in daily average lookups, as well as this poignant choice for Word of the Year, people will be inspired to stop being bystanders.
The website saw a spike in searches of the word on March 12 after “Saturday Night Live” aired a skit starring Scarlett Johansson playing Ivanka Trump endorsing a perfume called “Complicit” with the tag line: “The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.”
They saw a surge once again on April 5 when Ivanka Trump stated in an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Gayle King that “if being complicit (with her father’s actions) is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit.”
The definition of complicit, taken from Dictionary.com, is “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.” They even point out in their Word of the Year post that complicit is “decidedly negative.”
So while Ivanka Trump didn’t quite grasp the meaning of the word before, she’s heard enough backlash to know it by now. Despite understanding the word, she has yet to stop being complicit to her father and his many oppressive proposals and policies.
The website chooses the words to award every year based on the amount of searches it garners on the site, as well as the social impact it has.
The decision hopefully brings attention to the fact that, like Ivanka Trump, too many people are being complicit in the face of social injustices.
While it’s important to push for social progress, it is also important to recognize the hard work people have put into rejecting complicity.
In response to Donald Trump’s inauguration, the U.S. saw the largest peaceful protest in history as up to 5 million people participated across the country in the Women’s March.
Colin Kaepernick, followed by many other professional athletes, took a stand, or a knee, against police brutality and racial inequality.
Protests don’t always have to be organized demonstrations though. Over 1,000 immigration lawyers across the country mobilized to help those who had been detained in airports throughout the country after Donald Trump initially implemented the travel ban and the International Refugee Assistance Project sent emails asking for lawyers to volunteer.
Even Cal State Fullerton is offering an English class next semester called Writing for Social Action.
No matter how, it is important to not be complicit. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. It might not be the easiest move, but the right thing rarely is.
Like Dictionary.com, people and businesses should do what they can to fight against the current administration and show them that they will not get away with their nefarious laws and policies.