Consider others’ feelings before speaking

Consider others feelings before speaking

Shannon Tierney, Staff Writer

People shouldn’t be punished for saying certain things, unless it is an obvious attack on a particular person. But obviously certain words can be considered offensive. Who decides what’s ok to say and what’s not?

For example, certain words are said by certain groups and they feel it is ok, but then they get offended if someone from another group says the same word. If it’s not ok for one person to say a word, it shouldn’t be ok for anyone to say that word.

Also, some students use words that might be considered offensive, but they mean them to be funny, not to hurt someone verbally. One phrase I hear is, “That’s retarded” instead of just saying something is stupid or some other word that could potentially be less offensive.

I always hear teachers correct the student by saying, “Don’t say retarded, use mentally challenged,” but is that really any better? A person who is actually mentally disabled might not take offense if they don’t understand what that word is supposed to be mean, but their parents or others still might not like people to use the word.

On the other hand, should people who don’t even know anyone who is disabled be able to go off on someone who uses the term? Especially if the person saying it doesn’t mean any harm by it. Who is in the wrong?

Another word I hear sometimes is gay. I don’t mean happy. When someone looks at a person and says, “You’re so gay,” will that person take offense? Some might not, but it can be offensive to a number of other people. It can be flat out rude to use this term. It’s not always obvious when someone is offended because the person may not say anything because they may be afraid of being ridiculed.

All in all students, and sometimes adults, should learn to think before they speak. In a perfect world, people shouldn’t care about what anyone else says or thinks, because they should have confidence in who they are. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, students should be more courteous of others when they talk. If everyone at least tries to be a little more considerate, the world would be a better place.

shannon gray