Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
I wanted to open with a racial slur. You see, I wanted to shock you into listening. The thing is, I don't use those words. I found it repugnant to consider having them, in black and white, associated with my name forever and ever. They are words you won't hear on primetime, as the punchline on your favorite tv show, or on the evening news.
Logically, words are only signifiers. They should hold no more power than a person allows them to. But we know that isn't true. Words can define us. They can be used to restrict us, and they can shape the way we see others. Their power is long lasting and long reaching.
How often have you heard someone describe their ex as bipolar, psycho, schizo, or just crazy? Because these terms are considered socially acceptable, most people don't even notice. They news media, tv shows, movies, casual quips, political exchanges... It wasn't very long ago that racial remarks were also considered socially acceptable. I'm fact, they are the same thing... Generalizations based on misinformation that create stigma. Stigma ruins lives. It changes the way we see others, and more importantly, it changes the way we see ourselves. It creates hostility and fear and an unwillingness to seek legitimate, and the answer is so much simpler than gun control or expensive mental health bills. All you have to do is choose a different word.