There’s an old saying that goes “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.
I wonder when people decided that wasn’t the way to go anymore because people are more sensitive now than ever.
It’s gotten to be so bad that now I come across people who get angry if you call them Black rather than African American. I have only managed not to ask their opinion on James Brown’s song I’m Black and I’m Proud by the use of great restraint.
Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with people who want to be called African American, that’s their choice. What I’m saying is too much energy is being wasted on slights (some of which are imagined) and the victims keep giving the perps the ammunition to keep firing on them.
A few weeks ago I had someone call me outside my name.
I thanked the person for the compliment.
Since that wasn’t their intent, they attempted to explain what they meant.
I let the person finish, then I explained that it’s my personal policy to only accept compliments therefore anything they said about me was going to be taken as one regardless of their intent.
The person was pretty irritated over the whole thing, but really couldn’t do anything about it.
I’m the only one in control of how I take things, and since most insults are based on bent realities, I just bend the words a little more to suit my own needs.
I wish I could remember what the person called me, but it had so little effect on me, I can’t. I’ll use another word as an example to show what I’m talking about.
Let’s start light first so the faint at heart can understand what I’m talking about without having to “go there”.
Agitator: “You’re the laziest person I’ve ever met.”
Me: “You should thank me then, because every convenience you enjoy is because some lazy person said, “There has to be an easier way”.”
Agitator: “What are you even talking about? That’s stupid.”
Me: “Really? So you mean to tell me that at one point in history someone didn’t say something to the effect of “I’m tired of walking. Hey look. There are some horses, let’s jump on their backs and let them do all the walking”. Before you know it, lazy people would invent trains, cars, planes. Because convenience is better…Now thank me!”
The point here isn’t whether there is any truth to your statement. Most insults, especially the ones meant to hurt the most aren’t based on reality either. So take advantage of the free-for-all and turn every little thing they have to say around to suit your own needs.
If you aren’t really quick with witty remarks, take insults where ever you hear them (TV, movies, office gossip) and take time to compose answers for them. Yes, it will take practice to get good at it, but it works. There are people who know how it will turn out that refuse to even try and insult me because they don’t want the aggravation.
The rest, quickly learn.
Now, for the hardcore people, this is a sample of how I might deal with a racist comment.
Note: There are times where it is dangerous to voice your response. At those times, just keep your thoughts to yourself, but still don’t internalize the insult. Spin it so that you aren’t walking away hurt.
Agitator: “In the good ‘ole days, you’d be picking my cotton.”
Me: “I’d also be the reason your wife kept having dark babies. I guess we can both be glad things didn’t work out like that between us.”
Again, depending on circumstances, I’d most likely not voice that response, but that and a few other things would certainly be going through my head and I’d still be smiling inside.
The ultimate goal here is to spend less time in life hurt. I’m seeing more and more people becoming upset over offenses that aren’t even intentional.
When it is intentional, I still say there is no good reason for you to raise your blood pressure because someone you can’t control said something you don’t have to accept as they intended.
Today on the radio, I heard a DJ say he wishes certain words would just go away for ever because the world would be a better place then.
I say, the best chance of that happening in reality is for the harmful intent behind those words to no longer be acknowledged. Then there would be no reason for the agitators to use them.
What do you think?