Part of being an adult is having the ability to know when not to say what’s on your mind, a skill lost on most children, whose nature lends itself to an almost brutal honesty. For instance, if you’re feeling vulnerable, don’t ask a child a question with an expectation that the answer will somehow buttress a sagging self-image, because very young people don’t always understand how words can hurt.
Now if an adult were to act in the same fashion–with any sort of frequency–then there’s a problem.
The point that I am meandering towards is that words aren’t free, and that there’s a cost to be paid for uttering the wrong ones.
And it doesn’t have to have to be “Fire” in a crowded theater to cause damage.
When I was growing up, the phrase “Sticks and stones may break you bones, but words may never hurt you,” was a popular aphorism, but as I got older I also came to realize that physical wounds healed eventually, while words could leave scars that follow one their entire lives.
The most recent example of adults that should know better is “All My Babies’ Mamas,” a new show premiering on Oxygen (the television network created by Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications).
The show revolves around an African-American man, and all the women he’s had children by, which is offensive on so many levels. Part of the problem is that it promotes stereotypes of a particular group based upon the actions of a few individuals, though perhaps the greatest problem is why would any network air such garbage in the first place.
Colorofchange.org is trying to get the Oxygen network to stop production, and was where I first heard about it. Such a show makes me wonder if Oxygen is run by children, because few clear thinking, adults–without an agenda–would air something so potentially damaging to so many.