In case you haven't noticed, Dolphins fans like to cuss. If you don't believe me, read this. The F word ranks second only to the word "Dolphins." This FanPost is not for the faint of heart. If you are uneasy or trepidacious about cuss words, now would be the time to click away. Still with me? I thought so..I knew you like to cuss! :)
The NFL is proposing a 15-yard penalty for the use of the N-word. I understand the sentiment to eradicate racism and bigotry when it is presented. But taking away a word will not accomplish this goal. The NFL's endeavor is completely and utterly fruitless, and this FanPost is designed to explain why.
I mean, c'mon, 1 of 32 NFL teams is a racially derogatory word as part of its name: the Redskins. Ironic that they want to eliminate the N-word when they won't eradicate "Redskins"? Never mind the theoretical implications, we are talking about a 15-yard penalty every time a ref hears the word! How will you feel when a game against the Jets is on the line and Michael Egnew drops the N-bomb? We are not just talking about the nature of cuss words, we are talking about the livelihood of players, organizations, and fan bases.
Words and language are absolutely fascinating phenomenon. Children, no matter what the language, no matter the location, are hard-wired to pick up language: Swahili, "click" language, English, French, Spanish, it doesn't matter. Words, despite dictionary definitions, can have any innumerable connotative meanings. What do I mean by this? Just look up the word "trees." I don't see anywhere mentioned that it can mean the substance that Ricky held so dearly, not to mention dozens of other NFL players…or myself…or Beav. My point? Words mean whatever we want them to mean. Whatever we want to say, however abrasive and disruptive, however ignorant and baseless, however demeaning and disparaging, we will find a way to communicate it. It is in our nature to communicate the ideas that we feel are important to the world.
Many cuss words have benign etymological origins but that has nothing to do with our current status as a socio-historical context. We give power to certain words, it is not the words that give power to themselves. It is the people who assign meaning towards the words. If you have a problem with the word "motherf****r" or "c**t" or "s**t", it's not the word's fault OR the world's fault, it's YOURS. Words provide expression to what we want to say, for we have no other mechanism to communicate our ideas other than to use words. Bobby Knight, the former basketball coach of Indiana and Texas Tech has an incredible interpretation of the F-word:
Despite your feelings towards cuss words, let me tell you why this proposed penalty is pitiful, and I've already alluded to it: we can make words mean whatever we want them to mean. Just as "trees" can mean "marijuana", "duck" can mean "f**k" and "chyt" can mean "s(*t." In other words, whatever we want to express, we will find a way to express it, whether it be the actual word or a substitution. My friends and I used to say we were "ducked up" after a college party, and for no other reason other than to be sarcastic. No one was watching us, our parents were long gone, the girls we just "ducked" were long gone - it all goes to show that we can express whatever we want to, no matter what words we use. Not the most clever analogy, but I hope you see my point. We could've said that we let "some puppies get their fill of rainbows and butterflies", and would've meant the same exact thing as long as we agreed on the vile meaning.
So if the NFL wants to eradicate the N-word, be ready for the substitute: it will mean the same exact thing, the same exact sentiment, the same exact connotation. Humans are smart like that - if you had something to say, no matter the time or the place, wouldn't you find a way to do it? Say you're a teacher and you want to bash on a student publicly but under the guise of code, despite how convoluted that enterprise is, couldn't you say the student is "full of enlightenment" instead of saying he or she is "full of s**t"? Aside from anyone who knows "the code", would any outsider be any the wiser? Say you were a parent and wanted to criticize your child publicly, couldn't you say "my son is full of sunshine" when you actually mean to say "my son won't sleep worth a sh*t?" Would it cause any undue harm to the child? Would this code affect anyone but the two communicating the sentiment?
What's the point of all this? We will say whatever we want to say, and we will always find a way to say it. Reducing our vocabulary will not reduce the hate in our hearts…or our need for sarcasm. Language is too perfect and too multi-dimensional to ever assume that we can promote societal changes based on this. Say "NO" to the NFL-proposed ban on the N-word, it will only replace the N-word with a new cuss word that is equally as atrocious, spiteful, and hateful. Human beings have a variety of messages they want to disseminate to the world, good and bad, and it will never be stopped. And it's not because we don't care, it's because we are smart. 15-yard penalties will only affect people who can't bite their tongue, it won't affect the sentiment of people's messages...
What are your thoughts, friends?