. . . By the way, those are jokes by Daniel Tosh. I'm here to be serious. Mostly. I'm gonna talk about racism and sexism and probably several other -isms before I'm done, so I know that I need to approach the -isms slowly and gently, kind of like anal sex.
So, anyone who knows me knows that I try not to pull any punches. I don't like to bullshit people. I try to, as often as possible, do and say what I feel like whenever I feel like. Over the last couple of years I've learned to curb my tongue when the occasion would be more beneficial to me later... and on occasion beneficial to others as well. But like always, I try not to curse in front of children or little old ladies. Unless they deserve it.
So based on that ideal, I don't believe in the power of words to hurt people. Well, that's not true. People have told me "I wish I had never met you," and those words hurt me to my very soul, but they could call me poor or white-trash all day long and it wouldn't mean a thing. Ergo, I don't believe that any of those so-called "slurs" in my icon there? I don't believe they should mean anything to anyone besides what I like to call "Playground Insults."
Now, because I feel that way, I use the words on occasion, not as any kind of hate speech, just flippantly because I give no fucks. Because of this, I've been labeled as insensitive and racist and sexist and and misogynist and all other sorts of things. But I'm not. One thing I earnestly believe is that if certain words are used to a point where they no longer have the meaning they once did, they no longer carry the same connotation of hate speech, abuse, or defamation. For example.
See? That was funny! And if we all start using all these words enough, they'll all be useless and they'll all be funny again. Hell, that's the reason I use'em.
Sometimes though... words hurt inadvertently.
I had a friend... well, I thought she was a friend. She was an LJ acquaintance for a helluva long time. One day she reprimanded me for saying "faggot" out of context. Let's just say that we're not friends anymore. Then of course, there was the time a black kid in my neighborhood beat the shit out of me when he heard me call my other black friends nigga. I don't think I have to tell you that he and I weren't friends after that.
But regardless of my flippant remarks that occasionally piss someone off or hurt someone's feelings, I can't deny the fact that I'm not the only person in the world saying any racial or sexual epithets and slurs, and a lot of the other people usin'em... they sure as shit aren't using them to be funny like I am.
There's been a lot of talk on the news lately about gay teens killing themselves. I wish I could provide you some links, but God, they're overwhelming and I'm sure you know what the fuck I'm talking about anyways. One of these problems is that a lot of these teens are very... very young. Like, thirteen to fifteen young. Now, this is just me personally speaking, but I don't believe that at those ages you've experienced enough of life to even know for sure if you're ready to make that big of a life decision about your sexuality.
Regardless, bullies call these kids "faggot" and "queer" and tell them that they should die. After so much of that bullying, the kids... well. They take the advice. And there's nothing funny about that.
After Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns posted his "It Gets Better" video, it sparked viral repeats across the LGBT community as well as haters of the LGBT community. It was a part of the It Gets Better Project, an online community to let gay youth know that once you're older, you don't have to put up with the same shit you did as a kid if you don't want to. Even just a few days afterward, President Obama himself made a video for the Project.
In that video, Obama says that we must "dispel the myth that bullying is an inevitable rite of passage." I disagree with that, because bullying is inevitable. At some point in your life, you were bullied, and then you, in turn, to make yourself feel better, picked on someone else. Your kids will do the same thing and so on and so forth. However he also says we have an obligation to make sure our schools (and everywhere else for that matter) are safe for our children. So yeah, I can get behind that. Which is why I have to ask... why can't there be picking on people without safety?
I know, it seems like a hypocrisy, but there is such a thing as simple childhood teasing. I understand that the bullies in question weren't "teasing." But that poses yet another set of questions.
Why didn't the teens that committed suicide have higher levels of self esteem? Didn't their parents instill that quality in them to not give that much of a shit about what some asshole fuckin' bully at school is saying about them? And then what about the bullies? Don't they have better morals than that to go around telling other kids that they should fucking kill themselves?!? Are you kidding me? Didn't their parents instill some better values in them? And this was all s'posed to be happening at school! WHERE THE FUCK were the teachers?!?
I brought those questions up to my friend Jon about a week ago and he said that with those questions I was giving responsibility to just about everyone else in those situations, the teachers, the gay teens, the bullies, and all their parents. It wasn't to try and take responsibility off of myself, as in, so I could be free so say whatever the hell I please and feel justified doing it. It's because I honestly believe everyone else needs to have some kind of responsibility for what they do and say as well.
[EDIT -- Read what comedian Patton Oswalt has to say about the responsibilities of the bullies and the bullied: http://www.pattonoswalt.com/index.cfm?p
Now, I had wanted to contact Councilman Burns and ask his opinion on whether other people including the parents and the homosexual teens should have some sort of responsibility for... well, for this shit that's been happening. But he didn't answer his phone. Then again, he may have found my opinions grossly vulgar and unacceptable. So may some of you. You're entitled to your opinions.
In the end, no matter who is using the words, me, some bully, an anchorperson on television... it doesn't matter. They're just words. Air passes over the vocal chords and the tongue, teeth and lips move accordingly to make sounds. It sounds gross, but whether you make the sounds "DddddddddddOOOOOOOOggggggggggggGGGG" or "FffffffffffffUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUCcccc