From Creative Commons
From Creative Commons

Why I say something when people use a slur

  • November 15, 2018

So often, kids will say something that they should have thought twice about before saying. These sayings just make people sound uneducated or stupid.

  The most common thing I hear is probably one of the most ridiculous, overused expressions high schoolers use: “That’s so gay.” Before I get into it, I want to know what this expression is supposed to mean. Kids tend to say this about anything they find stupid or ridiculous. That does not make sense in any way. The word “gay” is not synonymous for stupid or ridiculous. They are using it to say that something is bad or “gross.” That is not what the word gay means at all. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, the word means happily excited or relating to the tendency of liking the same sex. Nowhere in either of those definitions does it mention the word stupid, ridiculous, or gross or any of the words that people use. So the message is, gay is not a bad word. It is not a shameful word. Someone’s identity is not a bad word or a shameful thing so people really need to stop saying this word like it is a bad, shameful word.

Other words I hear students say are slurs which I will not write in this article (they are highly offensive and I do not want to write them down), but one could probably guess what some of them are. These words are hurtful words that people use or have used to hurt people in the past. Whenever I hear these words, I look at the person saying these things. I go over to them and I tell them, “You shouldn’t say that word” or “That’s not a nice word.” A lot of the time after I tell people not to use these words, they give me a half-hearted nod and a weird look as if what I said was in a foreign language. I ignore most of the other stupid stuff kids say, but when kids use slurs or other derogatory terms, I say something.      

People sometimes say these words and they aren’t aware that there are people around who might be hurt or offended by them.

Imagine this scenario. You make a friend who is LGBT or black or some ethnicity or sexual orientation that is different from yours, and you use a slur in front of them. What are they going to think? Will they think you sound stupid? Will they want to be your friends? Please do not use these words. These words are hurtful, they are mean, and they make you sound uneducated.

Next time your hear people say these words and you know it’s wrong, please do speak up. It will be worth your time.  



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