STICKS AND STONES

I really shouldn’t spend any time on Facebook. All it does is piss me off.

hate speech is not free

THE ORIGINATING COMMENT: Why political correctness is necessary: Spics, Micks, Gooks, Geeks, Freaks, Nips, Hebes, Kikes, Towel Heads, Camel Jockeys, Zipperheads, Chinks, Negroes, Darkies, Niggers, Crackers, Honkies, Spooks, Degos, Wops, Frogs, Canucks, Ice Farmers, Hockey Pucks, Queers, Fags, Homos.

Without it these and many other epithets would still be part of our jargon. Is this what you really want? 

Note: Author was well-intentioned.

FIRST COMMENT: Those are all just words. Being offended by them only gives them unnecessary meaning. Political correctness won’t stop…it will grow and compound until everything will offend someone. Anyone of us can pick and choose what we are offended by and legislate all others to conform. Stop being offended by everything and you take the power away from offender.

ME: Bullshit. Do you seriously believe that not being offended would make the slightest difference to these assholes?

NEXT COMMENT: People use words to make them feel better about themselves. They can call me anything they want, but it doesn’t make them a better person. But when they find I will not respond, they have to face the fact that I am the better person.

My thought balloon: No they don’t. They will harass you until you run, turn to fight, or they escalate and do you harm.

ANOTHER COMMENT: People who use those words aren’t worth listening to. That’s why when so many of a certain group use them then we know the opposition and know that to use those words ourselves is to degrade not others but ourselves. Individuals of xenophobic and bigoted mindsets always have a way of outing themselves, sometimes even in their political platform. Dog whistles galore.

ME:  Are you people serious? Have any of you actually ever been called nigger or kike or any of those other names? When somebody meant it? We can’t make people stop hating, but we can at least keep their behavior from being acceptable or worse, fashionable.

This attitude has allowed cyber-bullying to reach the point where teens are driven to suicide. It’s exactly the same as telling a kid who is being bullied that “sticks and stones will break your bones, but names can never hurt you.”

Names hurt. Bullying hurts. Hate hurts. Words have power.


So now, words are no big deal? Words are powerless if you want them to be?

How many suicides of teenagers are the direct result of name-calling? Bullying? Cyber-bullying? How many lives are ruined by cruel words, verbal abuse? Rumors? Lies? Ignore them and they won’t matter? Since when was that true?

Calling it “political correctness” makes it sound so inoffensive. But this isn’t a mere matter of correctness. It’s a matter of common decency and basic fairness. We are all entitled to live in a world without being jeered at, without being taunted, called names. Without being tormented by rumors and whispering campaigns. You call it “political correctness.” I call it justice.

People who talk about how all you have to do is “ignore them” have never been the butt of verbal abuse. Or faced down bullies and wondered if they were going to come out of it in one piece.

NO BOUQUET OIL JUNE

If you were bullied as a kid, how did the “not paying attention to them” work for you? How many problems of bigotry and unfair treatment have been solved by ignoring them and “being the better person?”

If they are calling you — or anyone — hateful names, they want you to feel bad. That’s the point. That’s why they are doing it.

Taking the high road is not going to make it go away or make it hurt less. We can’t cure hate, but we can make the haters shut up. I’m in favor of making them shut up. How about you?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

23 thoughts on “STICKS AND STONES”

  1. I agree with you on the harm words do. As for Facebook, I use it to my needs. I discover bands, I keep connected with my cycling, music and other little communities and I use it to get people to come for my gigs. The rubbish, I don’t bother with because I spend time on FB – mostly – just enough for the things that work for me.

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    1. Words may not break bones, but they can and do break the spirit. Not to mention they are often the precursor to physical violence. I also use FB for my own purposes, but cruising around to see what’s going on is soul-numbing. It’s getting worse. I love rants against “political correctness.” These are just thinly disguised bigots feeling deprived of their favorite weapons.

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  2. The idea that you can take the high road is sanctimonious b/s put about by people who have 1) never had their (shaky) confidence pierced by taunting and mockery, and 2) think they’re somehow superior to the rest of us mere mortals, who bleed if we’re pricked.

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    1. Sanctimonious. THAT was the word I was searching for. You gotta love these middle class white people telling other people that THEY should take the high road. Like they would know anything about it.

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  3. I noticed it a few years back, when the name calling starting on comment sections of newspapers. Name calling, offenses, bad style, disrespect…I think that all goes hand in hand. Today people hide behind a screen, a smart phone or tablet. There is hardly a consequence if they misbehave. Rudeness is a part of our every day computer life.

    Calling someone outside the “N” word may result in a confrontation, the right one might punch you in the face, it’s easier hidden behind a screen.

    Words can hurt more than a slap in the face. Hate is a picture of our society, hate against everything that’s just a little bit different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We are currently living in a hateful society. It is much worse than when I was growing up. Much uglier. People who think not responding or “taking the high road” is the way to go have yet to try their theory in the real world. Maybe they are so white and middle class, the issues never comes up. Then again, maybe they are simply insensitive and mean-spirited.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s the “pen mightier than the sword” thing. And words are not harmless or painless. We live and die by words. Words seem to suddenly become UNimportant when someone gets called to task for using them as weapons of hate.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a spectator in Facebook basically and ask myself how many ignorent lowlifes are out there. Some use it as a weapon to harm others, husbands, wives, even “friends” in inverted commas. I rarely join in discussions, although there are some distant relatives or friends where it is the only communication chance I have. Otherwise I keep to my own little corner. I have a so-called community with a chosen group, they choose me or I chooose them, and generally just repost my WordPress stuff. It is easy to give Facebook the blame for all the cyber bullying, but even in WordPress insults can happen, although we have the big advantage to just delete what does not suit us.

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    1. Deleting is a big advantage and I use it with enthusiasm. I also unfollow in Facebook. Like you — and many others — there are people I would have no way to keep in touch with without Facebook. That’s their choice and so I periodically take a peek to see what’s happening. If anything. There’s SO much ugliness on it these days. And so much STUPIDITY. The combination of ugliness, stupidity, and sheer ignorance is hard for me to ignore and it take a real effort to not let myself get suckered in. I’m learning, but sometimes, one of these posts gets under my skin.

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  5. Marlyin said, “The combination of ugliness, stupidity, and sheer ignorance is hard for me to ignore and it take a real effort to not let myself get suckered in. I’m learning, but sometimes, one of these posts gets under my skin.”

    The words ugliness, stupidity, and sheer ignorance describe a huge part of society today. Should we accept that as normal? Not yet, not ever! Facebook isn’t all to blame, but it gives a sad, unhappy, hateful, loveless group of people a huge platform to work from.

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    1. Facebook is a mirror of the world, not the world itself … and my husband is convinced that it provides a necessary place for the angriest people to vent their rage on the world without actually picking up weapons and shooting anyone. I don’t know if he is right or not, but he has a point. I need to not get involved because it’s bad for my health, mental and physical.

      I don’t know why the world has gotten so angry. I don’t know that things are really all that bad, but there seems to be a loss of faith in the future and the world’s leaders. And perhaps a trend to being proud of stupidity and ignorance, which is very worrisome.

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      1. There has always been some difference when it comes to outlooks from the younger person or on older one. I think you’re right about the loss of faith in the country’s leaders, it started with a loss of faith with mom and dad I’m afraid. Our society started to become much more permissive in the sixties. It has become something very hard to describe without getting off on a tangent, one way or the other. The lack of love one for another started with the breakdown of the family unit, it moved from there to the neighborhood then to the whole city now to the whole country. We no doubt are in for many history breaking events in the future years. Let’s hope many of them are for good. Facebook entries seem to be accepted as all truth, I guess everything on the internet is. Did you read my blog on the internet?

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  6. I think that objections to political correctness are smokescreens for people who can’t tolerate the discomfort of self reflection. It’s one of many tools that are used for such ends. If we acknowledge the need for political correctness then we acknowledge we are part of the oppressive group in a system that routinely oppresses. Then we have to feel icky inside and do things like change and apologize. So, people say, “Screw it. I’m not changing. You’re too sensitive.” It’s a super middle-class white thing to do and it always involves redefining the issue for the other person. “Those are just words.” or “Blahblahblah, free speech and take back America.”

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    1. I think you’ve nailed it. Middle class white people are the most angry of all the groups because they are not the ruling elite. They feel entitled to be at the top of the food chain. What they think must be right because they are important. If anyone doesn’t care for their behavior, it isn’t their behavior at issue. It is YOU who is over-sensitive — not they who are INsensitive.

      I went to high school with a group of high achieving white kids. It was a big city racially and ethnically mixed school. Lots of cultural and racial issues. They remember there being NO problems and sometimes, I have trouble believing we all went to the same school. Such is the power of magical thinking.

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