Words Will Be Words
Okay, so today I kinda wanted to blog about something a bit more serious than usual (and probably a bit more interesting). I was on the bus today on my way back from school, and there were these two teens talking to each other in really bad slang. I didn’t notice, I usually tune people like that out, but they were using lots of “fuck” and “shit”. They also repeatedly used the infamous “N-word”. This isn’t something that I have a problem with personally, though then again words don’t have much of an affect on me, they’re just words. But the white woman sitting behind me flipped out.
She asked the guys to be quiet, and ranted at them about how she didn’t need to hear that kind of language, and she was studying for college (which she was definitely old for, and was completely irrelevant to her conversation) and felt that their language was disrespectful and just awful and painful to hear. She went on about it for a little while, and finally stopped, murmuring “I can’t take it anymore! I can’t deal with this!”
I know what she’s talking about–the N-word is commonly used, mostly by black teens (I don’t say this to be racist, just as an observation). For its hugely negative connotations, it doesn’t bother them to use the word. I found it amusing that the white woman was being offended for a black male calling another black male it, mostly because it’s first and foremost an anti-black slur. Or maybe I just have a really bad sense of humor.
To me, words only have power if you give them power. It doesn’t bother me to use words like “hate” and “love” on a billion-times-a-day basis; I feel like when you mean it in the melodramatic and serious way that the word is really “meant” for, people will know. Clearly, the woman likes to give words power, but on another note, is it really fair that she try and restrict someone’s freedom of speech and expression like that? I know it sounds like a lame excuse, and I get that the language the kids were using was probably innappropriate for the environment, but the woman said it herself, it happens every day. It’s not exactly stoppable. And why try to stop it? So long as the teens aren’t offended when their friends use the word.
I’m interested to hear what others have to say about this. Comment with your opinion if you’d like–I get that this can be a sensitive subject. Maybe I’m being insensitive when I say that people should be free to speak the way they want to speak, and I know from experience that it’s hard to control how loud you talk, especially on a loud bus. Anyway, that’s all for now.