Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I am Intolerant.

I am intolerant of the use of the "N" Word. The "R" Word, or any derivative thereof. The "G" or "Q" or "H" or "D" or "F" Word. "S", "W", "C", "T-H", "J", "R", "M", XYZ OMG BBQ!!!11!

I grew up hearing some of these words, but not regularly. My grandma used the term "Darkies" from the pale, pale land of Northern Minnesota, and Grampa fought the"Japs" and saw them encroaching on his Pacific Northwest town. Even when I was young, I knew those were not words we used. There are words for those that speak Spanish, those that wear religious head-coverings, for immigrants, for those with ethnic features, and even for those born with a condition that makes then shorter than average.

"Mental Retardation" was a genuine diagnosis, but now variations are flung and meant to hurt. I know too many people with Autism or Down Syndrome or even learning disabilities that KNOW what these words mean to society and do not see them having anything to do with themselves.

My younger sister is a Lesbian. So when I hear "That's so gay", I am certain they aren't talking about one of the coolest people I know (after all, she did win "Rookie Teacher of the Year" at her school twice!) There are so many more descriptive words in the thesaurus, they just have to pick "odd", "weird", "unexpected", or...??? Any word that describes a person's sexuality or gender is not an appropriate epithet.  Calling a guy a "pussy" or a "girl" or telling them to "man up" conveys the whole female gender as a slur.

Rape is neither a joke nor a metaphor. Period. A friend recently had a tradesman in her house to quote a project. He was polite and funny and seemed to know his craft, but then said that he gave a discount, as he didn't want to rape her over the price. I asked how she dealt with it. Her response:
My approach is to say something like "oh man, please don't use that phrase, I don't like it." Then I continue talking about the job, or the price. I don't like confrontation, and this allows the guy to understand that he said something wrong, but he doesn't have to defend himself. Weak, I know, but it allows the conversation to continue. If he wants to go back and defend the rape comment, I'll be ready to give him plenty of reasons not to use it.
She did not award him the job. I respect her approach. Inform the offender that you do not like that word/phrase. If this is someone you hold authority over (child, student, employee) you can explain why this is not allowed. If it is a friend, you have a teachable moment. For a stranger, you let them know that what they said provoked a negative response. If they choose to pursue, have your reasons. If they do not, then it may be something they recall for the next time, especially if they start losing jobs!

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