My Blog Motto

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement"

~Rita Mae Brown

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What Did You Say?

In the words of my Grandma and Grandmas everywhere, "there is a time and a place for everything".

I'll admit that a while back our society had become a little over zealous with political correctness, almost to the point of absurdity. I think that's beginning to level out, leaving behind a healthy awareness of how we use words to describe other people and their life circumstances.

I will also admit that I do possess a rather dark sense of humor and will sometimes say things that would seem shocking, insensitive and in generally poor taste to the average person. In fact, I say things that even I consider to be in poor taste but when I do it is within context and with people who understand my sense of humor. There are some jokes that are reserved for a select few friends and family who 'get it'. They know me well enough to know that the humor is way of buffering a subject or incident that is probably incredibly painful. They know that I have come to a point where I can no longer feel the raw truth and need a way out or I will become overwhelmed with despair or worse, anger. Social Workers, Medical professionals, police officers and others who work with the darkest, most depraved examples of the human condition all understand this phenomena. So do most survivors. In a way we have license to use this brand of humor, much in the same way that lesbians can call themselves dykes, or blacks can say 'nigga' (although there is some disagreement on the use of those terms within those communities)

There are some words and phrases I see thrown around rather frequently that seem to take hold as quick and easy multi-use reactions. Some of them are just lazy, some are irritating and others can be outright hurtful. But because they are so ubiquitous and so handy we use them without giving much thought to their meaning or origin. Here are a few of the most frequent and offensive examples.

"I got raped by the IRS"~ No you did not. Rape is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure. Paying taxes does not even come close.

"Don't drink the kool-aid"~ Maybe you're too young to remember Jonestown. Maybe you don't even know that's the origin of that expression. It was one of the most horrific mass murder/suicides in history. Look it up.

"Are you crazy/ O.C.D/ dyslexic?"~ Maybe I am. Maybe someone close to me is. It's something that people have to cope with every single day of their lives, making adjustments and accommodations just to function. It sucks.

"They must be on crack"~ I'm pretty open about my drug history and I will tell you that of all the drugs I've toyed with crack is the most devastating. If there is such a thing as Evil, it is crack.

I'm not trying to censor anyone and I repeat I have a pretty grimy sense of humor myself but I do think that when we throw around statements like this we need to be aware of what it is we are referring to. Words do have power and people have secrets that they choose to keep personal and private. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women has been a victim of some degree of sexual assault. The chances are you know someone who has been raped, even if you don't know it, so when you decide to complain about your taxes (or anything else) think about your choice of words. You never know who you might be hurting. Thank You.

© 2010-2013 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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