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What's on YOUR mind?

Our words can be our most dangerous weapon.

Our words can be our most dangerous weapon.

If you have a few minutes and are attracted to mental stimulation, please

It’s weird for me to think about the fact that I’ve been out of high school for 2 years now. I don’t feel that old.

This blog is about harmful word choice, specifically when it comes to bullying. It’s one of those timeless subjects that is a hot topic some days and unspoken of the next. But with the sudden suicide of a 15 year old who went to my high school, I think it’s time to bring the topic up. Such a tragedy happening so close to home, at a school of which I am a proud alumnus and have met some of the most amazing, influential people in my life, where my own 15 year old brother now goes to school, really sounds some alarms to me.

When I was in high school, I heard lots of different words and phrases that were only used with the purpose to offend. A lot of these I was hearing for the first time. Maybe I was just too young to remember, but the phrase “that’s gay” is one that I can’t remember being used before I found myself in high school. It caught on quickly, though, to the point where just about everyone said it. It’s interesting to note that when I’m surrounded by my university crowd, I rarely hear that phrase that is so popular among adolescent high-schoolers.

Regardless, we need to be more conscious of our choices of words. I’ve come a long way since that first day of high school, way back in 2006. Now I’m a second-year university student studying, ironically enough, applied linguistics; a program which, for those who don’t know, is founded on the premise that everything we say, and subsequently everything that we do not say, is a choice, whether it is intentional, subconscious or whatever. Our words always carry implications and connotations. Calling something “gay” carries a negative, derogatory connotation. Therefore, whenever this word is used, regardless of context, it carries the negative connotation that we’ve attached to it. The significance of this has proven to be deadly.

I wrote in my last blog post that “we are our choices.” By that I mean we are the words that we speak and the meanings carried through them. They are what connects us to the rest of the world. Our use of language is what creates and modifies our identity in relation to the other people around us. The intimacy of our language creates relationships that are productive; the hatred in our language can destroy these relationships. But at the end of the day, the choice is ours.

We need to find other ways to relay our ideas that don’t target various groups of people. I hate calling the gay community a “group of people” because they are no different than the rest of us. But when phrases like “that’s gay” or even words like “fag” become so common place that they replace the words that originally relayed the ideas (ie “that’s silly”), a problem arises.

I find it pathetic that some young men feel it’s necessary to say “no homo” after they experience some physical or emotional connection with a male acquaintance. I mean, really? Was you losing your balance on the bus and falling into your friend’s lap really enough for you to worry people might think you had something going on with him? The answer is NO! Nobody cares! And even if the answer was yes, the fact that these people are scared of being considered gay shows their own homophobic prerogative toward homosexuality! Grow up!

I’m 19 years old now. I haven’t been to my high school for a few years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what goes on there. My brother has been a victim of bullying in the past. It’s ridiculous.

If you read this blog, I hope you can look at yourself and the ideas you may or may not be consciously suggesting because of your word choices. Biting your tongue will hurt you for a second, but it will save someone else from hurting forever.

Ours is a world of opportunity and open doors, if we can remember to give everyone a fair passage.


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