Discovering the Relevance of Words
Words become thoughts?
Thoughts become words?
Actions speak louder than words?
Not all words. Not all thoughts.
The NFL has had no shortage of bad press this season based on the words, thoughts, and actions of a few players. Even if you’re not a football, or sports fan, you probably could not avoid hearing -or reading- Eagles WR Riley Cooper’s drunken, racial-charged challenge during a Kenny Chesney concert this summer. Unless you avoid all forms of media at all costs, I’m sure you’ve heard the NFL is currently investigating allegations of bullying (that may include a racial component) amongst teammates in Miami.
In the world in which we reside, Riley Cooper, who happens to be white, would have been better off punching the security guard he was arguing with, than telling him, “I will fight every n***** in here.”
(You see, this particular word is so offensive it can’t even be typed in the context of a quote without being censored)
Miami offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who happens to look like a stereotypical bully, who would look at home with overgrown front teeth, a rat tail buzzcut, and a sleeveless ‘Murica T, should have kept his “hazing” personal instead of leaving voicemails calling (teammate) Jonathan Martin a “half-n*****”.
Once you’ve said it, you can’t unsay it. And there are words that speak louder than your actions. Sometimes your words show your true character.
But it is not the isolated words of these two individuals we should be concerned with. It is our words. Not us individual, us plural. We.
How do we speak to one another and what does that say about our culture. Chicago Bears WR nailed it when, discussing the Miami situation, he said:
Take a little boy and a little girl. A little boy falls down and the first thing we say as parents is ‘Get up, shake it off. You’ll be OK. Don’t cry.’ A little girl falls down, what do we say? ‘It’s going to be OK.’ We validate their feelings. So right there from that moment, we’re teaching our men to mask their feelings, to not show their emotions…That’s what I mean by the culture…And that’s what we have to change…it’s time for us to start talking.
And while we’re talking, can we admit not all girls want to act like girls and not all boys will be boys?
And while we’re talking, can we accept some girls like girls and some boys like boys?
And while we’re talking can we admit our world is made of individuals of many races and languages and all of these individuals are individuals?
And while we’re talking can we please, finally, retire that word that starts with an N and I can’t even type? Sure, there are words that can be said in certain context or to certain people — my best friends can text me and say “hey A-hole…” But I would prefer if you don’t. But guess what? That A-Word doesn’t come from a disgusting chapter of human history. That other word, the one all these football players are throwing around is not simply denigrating to African Americans, it is denigrating to humanity. This word comes from a time when human beings refused to see one another as human beings.
Aren’t we better as human beings?
The gift of speech is a beautiful thing, can we not then use it for beauty? Can we not use our words to build, to bridge, and to understand?
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