In the past twenty years or so, it has become common for some group or another to want an apology for how their ancestors were treated by someone else’s ancestors. We should apologize to Native Americans because of what our ancestors did to them in coming to America, or apologize to descendants of slaves for their ancestors having been enslaved in the first place, or Germany apologize to the world for Nazis and Hitler and World War II.
The trouble is, what does that accomplish? It doesn’t change history one iota. More important is how we conduct ourselves now. Maybe my ancestors had slaves, or maybe they didn’t. Maybe if they did they mistreated them, or maybe they didn’t. Nothing I say or do will change that, but I can decide how I will act toward others, be they black, Native American or anything else.
If I’m going to apologize, it should be for what I did wrong, and could therefore have prevented if I made different choices. Otherwise, my apology has little meaning or effect. And I shouldn’t be wantonly doing things, thinking that an after-the-fact apology makes it “all better”, as so many public figures and celebrities do. It’s like those people who say “pardon my French” after they swear, but make no effort not to swear in the first place. The apology is simply meant to absolve them of the wrongdoing and allow them to go on their merry way.
We can do better, and should. I can do better, and will.
Just for today, let’s all try not to say anything mean, cruel, thoughtless or unkind. Then, if we survive restraining our vitriol today, we can do it again tomorrow. And the next day, and the next day, ad infinitum.
Who’s with me on this?
The past few years, I’ve noticed what, to me, is a disturbing trend, particularly in the workplace. Words that would never have been used in polite company now drip off the tongues of anyone and everyone, even in a professional environment. Maybe people think they are no longer ‘swear’ words, but ‘just words’. That isn’t true. The nature of the word didn’t change simply because it became allowable to use them more frequently and publicly. Somewhere along the line someone ‘uncensored’ them and the hordes have taken full advantage of that – men and women alike. But why?
It is as if they think swearing in some way validates them as a person, in their career or whatever. In truth, all it really does is offend many people around them, who are either too hampered by their own politeness to mention it, figure their comments would fall on deaf or hostile ears, or fear the many ‘laws’ that now protect people in being as offensive as they like.
Even aside from the offensiveness, I must say that it gives me a very poor opinion of those people overall. That they would willfully be crude in front of others without regard to their feelings is a strike against them. But even on a more basic level, it makes me question their intelligence and knowledge. When I hear a co-worker using the F word literally almost every other word in a sentence, I have to think, “Do you not know any other words with which to express yourself? Is your vocabulary truly that limited?” If you don’t speak any better than that in public, then I must assume that you can’t. Dressing up in business attire won’t disguise what comes out of your mouth.
Some would say (even yell) ‘Freedom of Speech’! Yes, you have the right to say what you want as I am doing here, but the sign of a mature individual is one who can control their behavior, including speech. They can determine that a professional workplace or a public place with strangers is not the place for such language that others might find offensive. If they and all their friends want to hold inane, uneducated conversations like that in private then more power to them. But a mature person would not think it appropriate to inflict that on anyone and everyone around them without regard for the other person. To do so is offensive and disrespectful.
Don’t we have enough disrespect and offensiveness in the world already without that? Perhaps now is the time to sweeten our language and thus hope to sweeten our world a little. And, as a saying goes, ‘Blessed are those who choose their words wisely, for tomorrow they may have to eat them.’
I don’t remember exactly when I first discovered it, but many people apparently consider clowns to be ‘scary’. I don’t recall ever in my life being frightened by one, or seeing anything sinister or frightening about them. Did the proliferation of psycho killer clowns in movies cause people to think of clowns in a negative way, or did their fears predate such movies? Am I not afraid of clowns because I don’t watch such movies?
I’ve heard people say ‘nobody likes clowns’. Is that true? Am I really the only one who isn’t?
Feel free to put in your two cents worth, if you’re so inclined. I promise not to send a clown over to terrorize you if you admit to being one of the clown-dislikers!