Midwestern Mom's Musings

My view of the world through words & photos

It All Starts With One Comment

I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth.  They weren’t bad words.  They were corrective words…aimed at my friend.  Who actually calls out their friend for using terminology they find offensive?  Apparently, I do.  And I should.

It was innocently said.  I know it wasn’t said with malice.  And that was part of what upset me.

It prompted me to interrupt my friend and say, “Please don’t use that phrase.  I know you didn’t mean it.”

Her response was, “You’re right.  I can’t believe I said that.  I’m so sorry.”

And that was that.  I’ve never heard that phrase used by that friend since.

We each have an obligation to help stop bullying in all its ugly forms.  Denigrating language like turning a noun into a derogatory term is one of the most vicious, cutting ways that people bully others.

When I was growing up your ethnic background was a common topic for nasty comments.  Then racial slurs and derogatory comments about body parts reared their ugly heads.  Now we’ve added sexual orientation and political affiliations.  Yes, political affiliations.  Commentators seem to use the words liberal, conservative, Democrat and Republican with the same tone of voice as they use when they say, “I just stepped in slime.”

If you read a news story online and then read the comments about it, inevitably you will find extreme positions.  I don’t have a problem with that.  I do have a problem with the vicious, divisive words.  Simple stories suddenly take on political positions.  Then the name calling starts – first toward the subjects in the story and then between the various posters.  Suddenly the comments have nothing to do with the original story at all.

Comments posted within seconds of each other about an article regarding a woman who said she thought she was OK to drive after having three drinks. She pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. (Identifying information has been edited.)
  • Thought you were fine to drive? Tell that to 
    the victims' relatives...
  • I don't know why people drink anyways
  • Wonder why Obama doesn't outlaw drinking??? It
    would make as much sense as some of the other
    laws he has proposed and enacted.
  • Obama drinks on the job too
  • @N____, you are a terrible person. Two woman
    are dead, family members are torn apart...but
    yet you choose this as an opportunity to get a
    Obama jab in. You are an insufferable hateful person.
  • Seriously? These comments are the most reactionary
    I have ever seen. Dude, how can you call someone you
    don't know a horrible person? Lighten up, people.

If adults like political leaders, public commentators, preachers, moms and dads are using language to demean others, why are we so shocked when our kids do the same?

The announcement of Rodney King’s death recently reminded me of his simple question:  Can’t we all just get along?

When will we stop trying to raise ourselves up by lowering others?

It’s never easy to make a change in your life, much less in the life of someone else.  It can often start with one comment of correction when something bad is being said, or a comment of support for someone in need.

One comment.

What’s your comment going to be?

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