Nigger. Injun. Spic. Barbarian. Retard. Moron. Cripple. Mulatto. Idiot. Lard Ass. Kike.
Shocked? I’m not. Ashamed? Nope, I’m not that, either. Why? Because they’re words. What is a word? A unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. They are simple, descriptive, and all were formed with no ill-intent. The define a state of being, or a condition. They have no power. They cannot run my car, my computer, or my life.
There is a continuing, in my opinion stupidly, push to stop the use of words such as those above and others like them. The reason? They’ve been used in a negative connotation and so someone might be hurt, or at least, offended, by them. It’s called Political Correctness. If something causes someone to FEEL BAD, we must not DO IT. People shouldn’t ever FEEL BAD, and if simply using a different word will alleviate that pain, we should STOP USING IT.
I’ve grown up around prejudice and hatred, I have seen it first hand, I have shed blood for it, both my own and that of others. At no time were the WORDS used to express this hatred what I was fighting. I wasn’t fighting a Redneck or a Hillbilly or a Cretin. I was fighting a human being who used WORDS to express hatred and then went beyond words to using ACTIONS to INFLICT hatred. The WORDS didn’t bust my knuckles open, nor did they strike me. The person did.
Almost every word used to describe someone in a derogatory manner started out as a simple description. A few have very LONG histories of carrying hatred with them (Nigger, for example,) while others only in the past 20-30 years have gained status as words used by people to express contempt (cripple, retard.) The idea now seems to be that if you stop the use of the word, you’re going to stop the hatred behind it… The contempt… The fear.
When it becomes out of fashion to use the word “retard” to describe someone with diminished mental capacity or mental defect, a new word will take it’s place and rise to the former prevelance of the last. No one calls someone of mixed racial decent a Mulatto any longer, or a half-breed all that often, but I’ve heard the word “mixed” used with equal contempt. The same goes for nigger, or black or colored or African-American. Spic is out of fashion, so is wetback, now “illegal immigrant” is tossed around as a slur.
Are people such SHEEP??? It is not the WORDS CHANGING that will lead to TOLERANCE. Tolerance, like prejudice, is learned, taught, and passed along from people who are respected to those who respect them. Parents to kids. Teachers to pupils. Role models to fans. Older peers to younger.
Racial slurs and contempuous descriptors come from a FEAR of THAT WHICH IS NOT LIKE US. Human beings have an instinct to distrust that which is different, but the HATRED of it is learned, taught and developed. What needs to changes is what is taught. Not the words used to describe the difference. Only through embracing difference as a challenge to learn and grow will tolerance become reality.
Is this an easy solution? Yes, it’s amazingly easy. And impossibly hard. But let’s call a spade a spade. The WORDS are not the issue. The attitudes and fears behind them are.