Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who's the bitch?

It seems that an elected official in Brooklyn is trying to drum the word 'bitch'-referring to a cranky or otherwise unpleasant woman-out of our lexicon. She claims-and I agree-that this term is incredibly demeaning and should be used to refer to female dogs of the canine persuasion.

Naturally, this has caused quite a flap-from other elected officials in Brooklyn, to comics and celebrities and of course men. The men seem to be the most outraged. In a nutshell, they thing this woman is overreacting. They insist that the word bitch, in the right context is harmless (people said that about the 'n' word, too)

Interesting, no? Considering, that men aren't-bitches; being bitchy and they don't get 'bitch slapped'. How would they know that being called a bitch isn't an affront to someone who is?

That is what chaps my a--.

We are so quick to complain that political correctness run amok and that the 'slight' changes in language are not important enough to lose sleep over. But, have you noticed that the the people who beat that particular drum aren't usually the victims of hurtful language.

Case in point-men and bitches. What do you think would happen if we started referring to men as bitches (in the same context as women, of course). Those same me who are telling us to 'cool our jets'-that being called a bitch isn't a big deal-would be apoplectic if the tables were turned.

Of course, there are examples everywhere. Who are Caucasians to say that a Native American is being over sensitive when they are referred to as red men? Why can't a person who is blind be recognized a person first and blind second (or at all). If we aren't blind or handicapped, or black or Native American or short, tall, fat, thin, Asian, Hispanic, bald or whatever then we have no idea what would be offensive to those who are. Why are we so quick to dismiss what the effected person feels. Who made us in charge of what is offensive to the collective world.

What does this have to do with raising great kids? Everything.

When we teach our kids to respect and celebrate mankind-whatever kind they are-we are teaching them to give people the right to define what is offensive and draw boundaries. Our kids need to know that it is not ok to label and stereotype. Language is an incredibly powerful tool. We have been somewhat successful in changing some of our language and labels but we are far from finished. We have to keep after ourselves to respect others-in every way-until it becomes viscerally ingrained-something that we don't have to think.

Frankly, this is just the first step and it is just about the easiest thing we could do. That's ok, though because it takes a lot of raindrops to make an ocean-and a lot of ignorance to make a mountain out of molehill. Our job is to tell the difference between the two.

There is no surer key to your kids future success than that!

With respect,

No comments: