Words Can Hurt

Dear Taft High Community:

The use of hate speech at our school is demoralizing, and it is inhibiting our ability for growth in modern society.

At our school, many students use derogatory words, and these words are being thrown around lightly and casually, as if they didn’t actually have the hateful connotation they do in reality.  Believe it or not, these words do have an effect on the minority students of our school. The definition of a minority group is the following: “a group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination” (Webster Dictionary). So, the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” does not ring true in all cases. These words affect the majority population as well as the minority. It makes them think that the use of racial, ethnic, and sexual slurs is the norm; in other words, they think it’s acceptable vocabulary to use. These words will degenerate the moral mindset of younger generations.

Words such as these are designed to destroy our sense of self-worth, self-respect, and self-esteem. They are designed to make the people whom they are directed toward feel like they are worthless and don’t have value as a person. These words are not just words; they are ideas that are designed to oppress minorities, and make them feel just as though their point of view were not of any value.

But there has to be a way to fix this problem. Although the solution isn’t simple, it is worth it and should not be taken lightly. I personally believe that we could learn to be more positive as a school. I also think that we should actively discourage and educate students about the use of this kind of language. We should educate teachers and, hence, the students as well. This language has to stop. It is hurting people daily and we can change it with the right efforts. All it takes is a little education, enlightenment, and positivity.


Judith Beaver

Class of 2019