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"Words Will Hurt - - -"
(First posted on 4/14/07)
I don't usually put an editorial on my blog, but I am today.
If you live in America and are not in a coma, I fail to see how you could have missed all the furor this week over words spoken on the public air-waves by a prominent radio talk show host.
I don't think the point of all this is really whether or not you like the talk show host, or whether or not other people or groups of people have ever used ill-advised language. I don't think this is simply about racism or the use of racism as humor. I don't even think the point of all this is whether or not reaction this week has been too fast or too "knee-jerk."
I DO think the point of this IS words. Once spoken, they cannot be taken back. Once spoken they are "out there" to help or to harm. Makes what words we use of utmost importance, doesn't it?
Remember the old adage we yelled at another child, with tears streaming down our faces, when we were 8? "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will NEVER hurt me." It wasn't true then, and it isn't true now. Even though less poetic the phrase should have been: Sticks and stones may break my bones which will eventually heal and not bother me to speak of later, but words WILL hurt me now and continue to hurt me on a level that will never completely heal and that I will never forget.