Why the language we use matters


I’ve previously stated my case as to why using terms like “retard” is a bad idea. Throngs of whiny internet babies were quick to jump to their favorite OMFG CENSORSHIP platform, of course. I honestly can’t think of a quicker way to prove you’re a Ed Hardy-wearing tool not yet old enough to drink. But whatever. I never said you can’t, I only stated that you hurt people when you do. If that makes you feel guilty, well, congratulations you have a conscious.

The language we use helps create our ideas before we even use it. It shapes our perception unconsciously. No, sshh, don’t. You’re not totally in control of everything you think and feel, wee Hardy. Let it go.

I thought of a good example of this:

I think most of us can get on board with the idea that it’s not okay to hit your kids, right? Not just for the untold physical and emotional damage, but because abused children often grow up into socially mal-adapted problems we all have to deal with later. So for the good of society, we try not to traumatize the next generation.

Except a lot of us do.

Because we don’t call it beating, it’s a spanking. We’re not hitting them, it’s whoopin’. Especially in parts of the rural South, it’s still legal for teachers to paddle students as old as fifteen. So it’s okay to hit a child as long as it’s with a piece of socially sanctioned wood. Are you getting how little sense this makes?

We create a division in our minds between which one is socially acceptable and which one isn’t. Despite the fact that there’s no real difference at all. You’re physically hurting a person during their formative years. Whether you make a division in your mind or not, the result is the same.

When you say retard we like, y’know, should just know you don’t mean people with actually disabilities, right? A rape jokes isn’t supposed to actually mean you think rape is funny, God, lighten up- take a joke. It’s just words, stop censoring me!

Ah, “stop censoring me”: the mating call of the naive, privileged youth. I can’t really be mad at you as I was once a self-centered, out of touch, bag of hollow complaints myself. You’ll get there, bro. I believe in you.

So when commenters come at me with these excuses about why it’s not fair, and why they should be able to say what they want, and waaah my rights- this is the type of thing I’m talking about. You can say whatever you want. I’m only asking you acknowledge the impact you have. You are, intentionally or not, contributing to something that makes others people’s lives more difficult. And what’s worse: you’re doing it out of sheer laziness. Because changing the language we use everyday is hard.

Does that bother you?

Good. It should.

XOXO – Mags

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One thought on “Why the language we use matters

  1. I totally agree with you, in truth I do swear a lot. I’m in the navy,(Canadian) when I’m on ship I don’t even notice how much I’m swearing because of how everyone else is doing it. It’s pretty much a second language on the boat. I’m currently off ship,(I love my desk job, sadly it ends in March) when I first came off I didn’t know how bad I was swearing until I hung out with my civilian friends. I actually apologized when one of my friends called me out on it. I try to be careful in public, I don’t swear in front of kids or my grandparents, or my mom, dad well, he’s old school Irish so, good luck.. :p. Back on point because I just rambled there. It just kills me the way this new generation believes they’re self entitled, my bosses daughter drives me nuts. She asked her mom to reimburse her $20 for gas she put in her rental vehicle to do her class F1 drivers test.

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