Reader's View: Strive never to use words to malign
We’re at a time when just about anyone seems to be willing to take offense to just about anything. I’m not talking about the justified offense we all (should) feel at racially or ethnically targeted slurs or epithets but the seemingly innocuous words of our everyday speech. Words like “chief,” “alien,” “blind,” or “crazed.” All have legitimate uses and meanings. All also have become triggers for some who would intentionally misinterpret their context.
Nowadays it seems that the person hearing the word has sole discretion in determining the meaning and context of what was said.
Which leads me to my point: I am short — er, vertically challenged — and, as such, am deeply troubled by the intentional and derogatory use of the adjective “short.” In nearly every instance of its use, the adjective “short” is negative. “Coming up short” is to miss the mark. Getting “short changed” is to get ripped off. And who hasn’t gotten “the short end of the stick?” Accused of being “shortsighted?” How about “short-tempered?” I could go on, but I think my brain hit a “short circuit.” (Or was it a failure of my “short-term memory?”)
Anyway, we should never allow ourselves to become “blind” to words of hate. Neither should we be cowed into submission by “crazed” and oft-offended thought police. The English language is full of words that a few might be triggered by. We must be sure that the primary — or “chief” — use of those words is not one of malice. If we are to leave this world better than we found it, we must first strive to not to take offense but to make hate a most “alien” emotion.