Sticks And Stones
Ricky Gervais is finally back on Twitter and if you’re familiar with him, you know he lacks a censor or mute button. The man speaks his mind and while he doesn’t do so with the intent to offend, he usually ends up doing so. He’s been using the word “mong” a lot in his tweets, which is says is “a div, a dozy spud headed twonk.” Naturally though, people took it to mean a person with Down’s Syndrome and began the typical attacks. It reminded me of my film class in middle school when I called my best friend Chris a retard and was then given a lecture by the teacher about how that word is wrong; he was offended because his child is mentally handicapped. It’s funny how words can make people fly off the handle, especially when they’re not even directed at them.
In the past I’ve been called a nigger, a spic, an oreo, a dyke, a nerd, a loser, and countless other colorful words that I won’t bore you with. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt at the time. It was painful to be young and face verbal abuse from my peers, but that’s part of growing up. You recognize that the people saying these things are idiots and you don’t let it bother you. Words can sting but they don’t leave scars. They don’t define who you are. Most important, they can only hurt you if you allow them to do so.
There are times that I call my husband gay because of the way he enjoys playing around with a few select friends and the jokes he makes. In no way am I attacking homosexual people, but there are people out there who are outraged when people use the word gay to insult others. My husband obviously isn’t gay and I couldn’t care less who has sex with who; homosexuality doesn’t bother me because it just doesn’t affect my life whatsoever. I don’t go out and target homosexual looking people and yell GAY at them. I don’t call gay men Fags or gay women Carpet Munchers. It doesn’t make sense to me that these people would be outraged that one friend would call another friend gay in jest. It doesn’t make sense that at least one person will read that sentence and ask “Why is she saying ‘these people’?” Some things are just gay, plain and simple, and I reserve the right to call it like I see it. So long as I’m not gay bashing a person or a group, I see nothing wrong with it.
The word nigger is a word you’re not allowed to say if you’re not the right shade and has been for some time now. It originated as a neutral term to refer to black people, stemming from the word niger, which means black in Latin and similar to the word negro, meaning black in Spanish, or similar to a handful of other words that mean black. This word was taken and reshaped over the years, going from a simple way to describe a group of people to a derogatory term guaranteed to anger the masses. The word itself is not harmful; its power comes from the meaning we’ve given it and the way we allow it to affect us. Six little letters don’t create anger and separation and ill feelings, WE create it. We took the word “douche bag” and made it into a slang term for a person we consider to be an asshole, and we took “ass hole” away from its original meaning to mean a jerk, and we took “jerk” away… well, you get the idea.
We have freedom of speech, the freedom to speak freely and without censorship. We have the right to our opinions and the right to express ourselves in the manner which we see fit. While certain areas have restrictions on this, such as work or school or church, in most settings we are free to say what we want to who we want. The guy screaming BABY KILLERS to women at an abortion clinic has every right to do so, and while I may think he’s a bit nutty, he’s not hurting anyone. If women hear that and feel guilty about aborting their fetus, that is their choice and not the doing of the protestor.
Today’s society is one full of weak individuals who want to be babied through all walks of life. If something is slightly offensive, it must be dealt with and abolished! If something makes us sad, we must fix it and be happy! Our kid gets teased and it is said to be a bullying epidemic! We can’t say “men at work” because female workers have rights too! We don’t want kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school because it says “under God.” Everything must be politically correct and neutral and sympathetic to each and every group out there. Honestly, is that any way to live? Everything in existence is guaranteed to offend someone, you can’t fix that. Being sad is part of life, you can’t expect to be happy 24/7. Bullying made me a stronger person and taught me that I can overcome anything, especially weak kids who only find joy in picking on others. The word “men” eludes to “mankind” which describes all of humanity and it’s simpler than trying to fit “Men and Women and Transgenders At Work” on a road sign. And so on.
I refuse to sacrifice my happiness and my personality in order to pacify another individual or group. I’ll continue to say “goddamn” now and again because it happens when I get angry, not because I’m damning your religious beliefs or insulting who you pray to. If you act like a retard, I’ll probably call you one and it’s not because I’m insinuating that you have Down’s or that I believe you’re acting like a person with Down’s. They’re just words with multiple meanings to different people, and where these words are concerned, YOU get to decide the meaning and how it affects you. Choose to be weak and have it cut you down or offend, or choose to be strong and let it slide off your shoulders.
The famous quote goes “The pen is mightier than the sword,” and that may be true, but when was the last time a word, written or spoken, inflicted actual harm upon you or anyone else? Personally, I’d be more afraid of the lunatic waving a razor-sharp sword in my face than I would the lunatic calling me a dirty spic and telling me I’m going to hell. To allow myself to be undone by a few words just seems pathetic. Life is so much brighter when you just let the verbal garbage go.