It’s everywhere. Can’t say this – it’s offensive . . . can’t comment on that . . . it might be insensitive. Oh heaven’s no you can’t say that – you’ll start a riot in the streets.
Call me crazy but words are just words. They have no power unless you allow them power. They cannot hurt you unless you let them. I’m probably one of the few writers who believes words themselves have no power. NONE. It’s action of people who are moved in some way by those words (again just words) that have the power. This could be a physical, mental or emotional reaction to the words and the results could be positive, negative or neutral depending up the culture and the experiences of the people reading the words. Without the action, they’re just words.
LABEL c : a descriptive or identifying word or phrase: as (1) : epithet (2) : a word or phrase used with a dictionary definition to provide additional information – Merriam-Webster
Today I got in a tinsy bit of a rift with a poster on a writers message board regarding labels and how certain labels offended this poster. Many members felt her pain over these labels and shared some of their own experiences.
Many were painful to read. But almost everyone I know has experienced discrimination or ”labeling” at some point in their life. It’s certainly not pleasant being the object of words that bring pain, but again they’re only words and CANNOT hurt you unless you allow it. Bigots, haters and nutjobs are everywhere and it’s better to realize them for what they are than to get all emotional just because of their WORDS.
On the other hand, just because YOU find something offensive that doesn’t give that YOU the right to tell others what they should and shouldn’t say. And just because one has the freedom to say something doesn’t mean they should (that’s were I seem to get into trouble), but I really hate the “word banning” that seems to be the trend as of late.
SOOO me and my big mouth (or fingers) decided to play devils advocate asking such questions as why is a descriptor or label acceptable in one generation (say the fifties or sixties) and offensive today? Who gets to decide what terms are offensive and which ones aren’t? How it this information distributed? Is there a list? If so, how often is it updated? Does this end when the entire English language is deemed offensive? I probably made a mistake when I ended my post with “the PC Police is the biggest threat to free speech today”.
I also pointed out the everyone uses Labeling whether they admit it or not. Some people use a particular term and are unaware that it’s now considered offensive, i.e. a generational gap faux pas such as Harry Reid’s comment regarding our President’s lack of “Negro dialect unless he wants one”. Harry Reid’s comment, not mine. Google it.
It’s part of our culture and how, as writers do we describe people, places, event, objects, etc without labeling, either benign labels, positive labels or negative labels? Of course, no one there would EVER admit they have such a character flaw as labeling.
Well, originating poster slammed back with a plethora of accusations, racial insinuations, etc assuming that I was not a minority because of what I believe and I could never understand what it is like to be a minority in my own country. Well, hold on there sister (or brother), are you labeling me??? Caught them in their own act, but since the poster was a Moderator (oops!) my post was considered inflammatory and removed. Nothing was said about theirs. Typical. Offer a differing opinion and get chastised.
I find it laughable that people don’t see in their own actions the same kind of behavior they find soooo offensive in others. Gimme a break.
As for that writer’s forum . . . I don’t know. I don’t think I want to be a part of something that condones censorship . . . we’ll see. There are many talented writers there. Heck, my signon probably won’t work anymore anyway.
I’ll end this with an line I recall Oprah using after her trial in Texas, “FREE SPEECH ROCKS!”