Do Words Matter

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Do Words Matter?

We use words every day, and this is true quite an obvious fact. We learned how to talk when we were kids, and as we grew, we developed the essential skill of communicating with our voices using words, and our vocabulary keeps increasing as we never stop learning. While we stumble across things that we certainly knew were bad and have consequences when done and certainly knew how the use of certain words affected us. Although whatever we say to others does not necessarily physically harm them, we cannot neglect that the words we use are sometimes terrible. And should not have been noted as per the context it was used as when they are used negatively, and they may convey discrimination.

The commercialization of taboo words does not make such words inherently okay to be used and cease being taboo. Terms such as the N-word used to refer to people of color, the B-word used on women may be used as a form of flattery as they are widely used across many forms of media does not prove that the use is unlimited and has no effect on society. The origin of such a word, such as the N-word, was a dark one, and using such a word in public spaces where everyone from all walks of life is present can be unaccommodating and cause feelings of discrimination. The N-word was used to subjugate the black man, and since it is now acceptable in the music made by the man, it does not cancel out the valid reason behind its existence. Racism does not just magically disappear because we claim it’s not there when it is there; it did not stop ailing us simply because we took our medicine. It grows and becomes hidden in plain sight (West). Flaherty cites that the N-word cannot be accepted in any given setting or context in an article. It was initially used to subjugate the put people of color under oppression.

Context is a huge factor in the use of the word. Words are used t strike certain aspects of the community, and the context in which they are used could harm the reputation of a given set of people. Words like the B-word, motherfucker, mama are often aimed at motherhood figures(Gross 6). The B-word is often used to refer to pretty women in some way as a means of flattery. But this is not the case; it is an insult to women and cannot be treated as a compliment. It devalues women and words such as motherfucker, which disrespects mothers who are our source of life. It cannot be taken as usual and should be as women are to be regarded as gracious members of the society who have some dignity.

The impact of cussing and the use of slurs on children. In an article Bergen, cites that “a child who wanders out into the world with a mouth like a sailor could cause harm to his reputation and that of his parents.” No research has uncovered where children learn how to cuss and use negative language. A parent’s primary responsibility is to keep track of their children’s language and warn them of the different contexts not to use them. According to research, pediatrics claim that when a child is exposed to profanity, it is dangerous and may numb the child’s usual way of responding to emotion (Bergen). According to the same research, the use of slurs has an even larger impact on children with less cognitive and social development (Bergen).

Taboo words could be used to vent out anger and reduce pain, but is it okay to be venting out anger and projecting our feelings on other people? As cited in new research, it is insufficient close to almost no evidence that demonstrates that a word in any way leads to harm (“The Science of Swearing”). The effect of venting out anger on other us is unknown to us. Cussing and slurs exposing our emotions is a non-violent display using malicious language that could instigate violence this affects all persons of all ages. When children bully one another in school and insult each other, it is not a healthy way of communication. Cuss words hurt people’s feelings, especially children who have not yet established a firm sense of self-awareness. In research, it is given that verbal abuse is known to be psychologically damaging ( Bergen). Think of it it is not okay to encourage the psychological damage of any individual, most especially children; it ruins their self-image and identity as you can never hide the meaning behind certain words.

Slurs and swear words kill any room for equality and inclusion of all. A study found that middle school students who were exposed to homophobic slurs were less connected to their school and showed signs of being depressed and anxious ( Bergen). The same study by Bergen revealed that when a particular group of students in a university started, they thought that less funding should go to HIV AIDS patients from groups at high risk. A certain percentage moved away from the ones they thought were homosexual. These slurs brought out a sense of division among the students, and the same happens every day.

Words convey vices and either promote or discourage certain vices, which is inversely true when applied to taboo words and slurs. Swear words have a special place in language because once they are learned, their application is heavily dependant on context (“The Science of Swearing”). These contexts differ; they could be positive or negative. Swears can indeed be used in specific ways, such as conveying humor, but they could also threaten and pass as dangerous to some. In a threatening context, they could be incriminating depending on the severity of a case. How one is to receive a piece of information is highly subjective. One woman could perceive the “Bitch” as a compliment when one might view it as an insult or a threat. Using a word like that coupled with rude language could trigger defensive responses from people and land users of such language in colossal trouble as state laws oversee such cases. The directions provided on the use of language protect against discrimination and sexual harassment. Certain do convey signs of sexual harassment and intentions of discrimination. Words like the N-word on black people, the word bitch on women, and “retard” for people with learning disabilities. They negatively portray aspects of society and should be discouraged.

In conclusion, words matter, and context, gender, and culture should always be considered during communication. They cannot be ignored, and the use of words should not become subjective.

Works Cited

Bergen, Benjamin. “Go Ahead, Curse in Front of Your Kids.” Los Angeles Times, 20 Sept. 2016, www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-bergen-children-swearing-20160918-snap-story.html. Accessed 19 Nov. 2021.

Flaherty, Colleen. “The N-Word in the Classroom.” Inside Higher Ed, 12 Feb. 2018, www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/12/two-professors-different-campuses-used-n-word-last-week-one-was-suspended-and-one. Accessed 19 Nov. 2021.

“The Science of Swearing.” Association for Psychological Science – APS, 25 Apr. 2012, www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/the-science-of-swearing.*. Accessed 19 Nov. 2021.

West, Lindy. “A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism.’” Jezebel, 19 June 2013, jezebel.com/a-complete-guide-to-hipster-racism-5905291. Accessed 19 Nov. 2021.

Gross, Beverly. “Bitch”,1994 Issue No.103. ProQuest. ProQuest.com https://montclair.instructure.com/courses/98564/files/5565174/download?verifier=BPZW2s1odu1TAo18KrqrY2TYD3vJo1OzhJjZIP8q. Accessed 19 Nov. 2021.