Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sticks & Stones

Remember the rhyme we'd occasionally yell out on the elementary school playground? "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" We've been thinking about this lately.

Long time readers of this blog know what our favorite TV show is. (Sorry, Jon Ralston.) So when this show fell into a pile of verbal sticks & stones, we were troubled. Why embrace the language of hate, especially when the message is supposed to be love?

Sticks & stones can break our bones... And can words cause a world of hurt as well? Can "blurred lines" lead us into serious danger?

Try asking those who lost loved ones due to Elliot Rodger translating his words into action. Try asking the residents of Isla Vista. Try asking someone who knows anyone who works and/or studies at UC Santa Barbara.

There's a reason for #YesAllWomen. There's a reason for "When Women Refuse". Violence against women, cisgender and transgender, is all too real. And it still happens all too often.

Sticks & stones may break bones, but can dysphoria do so as well? What happens when we mock real violence? Might we be encouraging more violence?

Think about it. Even now, even after this latest tragedy, we're still seeing all these sticks & stones oh so causally tossed around. How many more bones must be broken before we notice? How many more real people must be hurt before we take seriously the threats we make with certain words?

Here in America, we tend to cherish our freedom of speech. As we should. But with great freedom comes great responsibility. And with harsh rhetoric comes harsh consequences.

Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have had to learn this the hard way. Isla Vista residents have had to learn this at the hands of a very troubled person. How many more sticks & stones must be tossed before we get it?

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