linguistic toxins in the air (hate speech)

I’ve been busy the last few weeks at the Writing Center, including helping a faculty member set up a blog about her experiences wearing a burqa (for V-Day week) and preparing to send in my application to Oregon State University’s MAIS program.

But I did want to post something I found in today’s Yakima Herald-Republic. It’s one of those Dear Abby columns, but this one’s by Carolyn Hax, entitled Tell Me About It. She got a letter about how to handle a friend who uses racial epithets. Hax says

Eating too many Twinkies is a bad habit. Biting your nails is a bad habit. I think anyone who has been on the receiving end of an epithet will tell you that using them is not a “bad habit.” It’s the release of linguistic toxins into the air, and it denies anyone who comes in contact, even secondhand, an opportunity to breathe the clean air of mutual respect. It’s ignorance, fear and injustice.

Well said, well said.

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