Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


The New Normal: Slurring People On-Line

posted by Linda Mintle

According to an August 2011 MTV poll, young people seem to have no problem using racist and sexist language on-line. Name-calling that would make parents cringe seems to be acceptable to teens and twenty-somethings when it takes place while texting and when using social media. And the disturbing  part is that the use of this language doesn’t bother them or offend. Why? According to the survey, it sounds cool and is funny to offend!

Even though half of young people think this type of language is wrong, more than half say it is OK to use with friends and people in their own circles. The reasoning is along the line that their friends understand that they don’t really mean it.

But what if the language goes beyond the circle of friends? No one seems particularly worried that the talk will reach a larger audience. Well good luck with that kids!

Not everyone thinks racist and sexist language is OK.  A significant minority of 14-24-year-olds say it is offensive, derogatory and demeaning. However, the majority says, let the slurs fly. The one exception–African Americans youths (60%) said they would be offended seeing the N word used against someone.

And guess who gets picked on the most. Overweight people.

So what is going on? Where do they get the idea that calling a friend a “slut” is funny? I would guess media. It’s all over TV. The bleep sound is constantly going off when you click through cable channels and I often hear the young people laughing at this. Is it some rite of passage to be able to call people names without having to do so in person? Honestly, this is one I totally do not understand.

I guess I am showing my age because I fail to see what is funny about being mean to someone!

Words hurt and you can’t predetermine who the sensitive one will be or who can let a slur roll off of his or her back. And when does “fun” become cyberbullying?

Using a racial or sexist slur has the potential to hurt people. For that reason alone, people should stop. But to make this a past trend, it has to become uncool. And that involves changing media as well as people’s mouths! To do that, requires a change in heart.

 

 



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