While reading Profanity: Offensive Language from Kory Floyd (2011), I came across with the word Reclaiming. According to Floyd “some social groups have recognized that they can reduce the negative effects of certain profane terms themselves by making the terms more commonplace, thus lowering or eliminating their shock value” (Floyd, 2011, p. 190). When the part “… eliminating their (negative words) shocking values, it gave me an understanding that words do have a powerful, and effective meaning towards a person. We often use negative words to degrade, intimidate, and dehumanize people on the basis of their gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability status, or political or moral view (Floyd, 2011, p. 190). The question that I had was why we say words, how affective can it be towards a person, what are the possible solutions?.
Hateful words as stated above are to degrade, intimidate, and dehumanize people. We as a society at time joke with certain words, because that is what the society. It has become a norm in particular society. Our society such as school, organization, associations, clubs, friends, and family members have an effect on what we say, and to whom we say it to. But the question is why we say negative words. We say words manly because we feel empowered to, and we feel that the opposite that is the victim of the negative words are less valued than whoever is saying the words. Abnormality can also be a major effect on a society, so the only way to distract the abnormality is by name calling so that one can feel bad about themselves.
The effect of negative words can be damage, harm, hinder, depress, upset, disrupt, cripple, and at time cause suicidal thoughts towards others. Groups such as the LGBT community, African-American, Hispanics, Jewish, Native Americans, and immigrants are mostly subject to discrimination and negative name calling. Bad connotation words can have a negative effect on these group members. Some of the effect is retaliation from society. Some might even ‘kill’ if these negative words are use towards them or others. Many of these minority groups face every day with bad perception, discrimination, and name calling, while society expect them to put a smile in their faces, and agreeing on their terms.
The question that I have is what are the possible solutions for those who are affected by insulting and negative words? Can we turn negative into positive? Some are asking me, what do you mean if you can turn negative into positive? My hypothesis for this confiding problem is turning negative words into positive ones. According to Floyd (2011), “when homosexuals call one another ‘queers’, their intent is not to cause insult but, rather, to remove the power to insult from the word’” (p. 190). Why not turn negative words into positive one, and change the value that it holds?
I believe that we should decrease the value of negative words that we think that is degrading minorities. Negative words have power to depress, hinder, upset, disrupt, and harm many. We should decrease these powers by decreasing its value in society. Reclaiming, would serve as a major solution to derogatory words towards minority and other groups that are being discriminated on.
Floyd, K. (2011). Ivy tech distance education comm 102 statewide online course. (p. 190). Shelbyville: McGraw Hill’s Connect.