Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Knock it off

    This week, a full-page ad in The New York Times called out those who describe something that is “dumb” or “stupid” as “gay,” even if the user has no intention of referencing homosexuals. Their ad was a reminder that using terms thoughtlessly can be hurtful to friends, relatives and colleagues, adults and children. It is a lesson we should all heed.
    The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is an organization of students, parents and teachers whose goal is to effect positive changes by working with students in schools.
    It seems as though by the year 2014 we would have learned that “political correctness” is no more than the avoidance of rude, mindlessly cruel terms. It should be unnecessary to put ads in The New York Times, or to launch anti-bullying programs.  In fact, we have not learned to ThinkB4YouSpeak, the name of GLSEN’s website.
    Nor is bullying restricted to middle-school students. One house of the Tennessee Legislature actually approved a measure that would have required teachers to notify the parents of students they assumed, even guessed, are gay. Thankfully, the other house thought before they agreed with that vote.
    Those who can’t be bothered to think before they speak, who want to use words they please without considering where the terms came from or to whom they might be offensive, still need a point-blank admonition. When it comes to mindlessly hurtful slang, or politically incorrect labels, it is time to just knock it off.

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