by Matt Daniels
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
As children, this is an oft used taunt, slung at those name-callers that filled playgrounds at lunch-time recess. At least it used to be; nowadays who knows if this is allowed, as it could be considered a form of bullying, and we wouldn’t want that, now would we?
Brigham Young, a name known to most as that of the LDS-owned university, reportedly once said, “He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a great fool.” If only this concept could be taught to children everywhere, the world would be a better place.
Instead of heeding these wise words, together we’re faced with the most recent politically-correct fad, soapboxed by bleeding-hearts everywhere: Word banning.
We’re all by now familiar with the supposed attempted banning of words like “retarded,” “gay,” and the “N-word,” but most recently a campaign has been created with the explicit intent to ban the word “bossy.” You read that correctly: BOSSY.
Celebrities including Beyoncé, Jane Lynch and Jennifer Garner have come together with the Girl Scouts of America and LeanIn.org to promote a way around the 1st amendment by collectively agreeing to ban the word “Bossy,” on grounds that in some way this word is responsible for damages done to young girls. Their platform? www.BanBossy.com.
The claim made by www.BanBossy.com is that using words like “bossy” tells little girls, “Don’t raise your hand or speak up,” and that it’s largely due to this word and it’s implication that girls, by middle school, are less interested in leading and leadership than boys; “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader’”.
Is this really what’s come of the American Spirit? Are we supposed to victimize ourselves at the discretion of words? Is the only possible way to become something in this world to take those things that we may disagree with and seek out their banishment? Is it simply too much to ask of Americans to tell the politically correct world to grow a pair?
The real issue, of course, isn’t in the propaganda, as we’re being led to believe. The issue lies in other areas; lack of personal integrity, willingness to be a victim, and last but not least, power.
If the Federal Government were to remove our freedom of speech directly, via destruction of the 1st amendment, there would be near unanimous outcry—it’s a big part of what makes America “America”. Instead, pocket-groups with socialistic tendencies do the work, and the result—if achieved—would be an even greater shift in power to those who already have too much.
If campaigns like www.BanBossy.com are supported, then what’s to stop the next ridiculous agenda? What if the next word on this list is “freedom,” or “leadership,” or “God”? A few years ago, this would have been a preposterous notion, but now? It’s almost a guarantee that something like this will come about sooner than later and the real question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
Banning a word does nothing; the “n-word” is as prevalent today as ever, even if the common user demographic and overall intention has changed. The word “retard” literally means “to delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment,” and was used to describe those of mental handicaps for years, but has today been blacklisted by easily-offended or weak-minded people. It also was used as slang to describe something or someone that was acting foolish. The word, all words, hold no more power than the person giving them power in the first place; by banning a word it only gives it the power the weak-minded were so afraid of in the first place. Does use of the word “retard” really infer offensive intent at those with handicaps? No.
Most words that have gone through some form of suggested banning actually have pre-determined meanings in the first place—the word “gay” used to mean “happy,” but good luck using it in that manner now, not to mention using it to describe something “lame,” which until a few years ago was not only acceptable but never given a second thought. The meaning of the word, unlike the choice to be offended or not, lies with the person speaking it. Are we to govern that too?
Word banning, whether through legislation or societal doctrine, may not technically be an infringement on the 1st amendment, but there is virtually no difference for those that choose to exercise their 1st amendment rights. Try using a recently banned word in office or at the store and then count the number of disgusted looks and possibly vocal jabs you’ll receive. You see, you can use whatever words you wish, as long as they’re approved by others. If not? Then you deserve whatever punishment they decide. Sounds like the freedom of speech, doesn’t it?
Don’t give in to those demanding that words be banned, or that collectively we need to stop using. Instead, use the word when appropriate and stand by your decision. To offend is not the intention, so let the offended decide whether or not to be offended in the first place. Because isn’t it awfully bossy of them to tell us what we can and can’t say? Hell, yes, it is.
Image: Courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oddsock/4406828636/