Please watch your words

“But dehumanizing the victim makes things simpler,
It’s like breathing with a respirator.
It eases the conscience of even the most conscious and calculating violator.
Words can reduce a person to an object,
Something more easy to hate,
An inanimate entity,
Completely disposable,
No problem to obliterate.”

Language of Violence – Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, 1990

It’s easy to see how groups do this to groups. Religious political,  national; all dehumanizing the ‘other’.

But what really strikes me is how we…as in you and I…do this both to others around us and indeed to ourselves.

Please think of what you think and of how sometimes you dehumanize those you disagree with, or those you are uncomfortable to be with.

Think of how you categorise people around you…the words you use and what that means for how you treat them, judge them, ignore them.

Think of how you would feel if it were you. Because you know, in a strange way, it is.

cheers Leesa

11 thoughts on “Please watch your words

  1. Leesis, this is so true. I was just writing a friend that my only prejudice is against bigots! Trying to live in love all the time, well, it’s exhausting. Also, when you possess the dark Irish humor and sarcasm that runs in my family, that’s difficult to turn off, but I try.

    My friend Jan filters EVERYTHING she says with these thoughts:
    Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

    She’s a model of patience and a true inspiration to me. She will love this piece. Thank you so much! Amy BL

  2. I was in my early twenties when I heard, “Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?” and I’ve carried the notion with me wherever I go. I don’t always do the best job with self editing, but asking myself those three questions eliminates a lot of unnecessary chatter… and the muddy, cruddy feelings that come along with nitpicking and bashing.

    So glad you wrote this.


    • thanks Meredith. I think its so important to pause before we speak, to consider and respect the humanity of the person before us. Love your expression “the muddy, cruddy feelings” 🙂

  3. ‘Words can reduce a person to an object,’ So true. I embrace my status as ‘other’ as a kind of push back. Some people will use personally terms like ‘Queer’ or ‘Bitch’ as a way to own power. It is so important to take back words.

  4. Lee, that’s spot on. Have been dealing with that lately, due to being involved in a bit of political journalism, and have been seeing that effect on the problems with Egypt and Libya. It is very sad, but very easy to fall to the trap, and I need to admit I do rather often as well. But as far as we can, we must all consciously try and release that grip, because it is… well, simply untrue, really. How realistic is a generalization anyway?

  5. Here is what I learned years ago. Use the word THINK. It is another take on the kind, true, necessary.

    When you want to say something…stop and THINK. Ask yourself if it is:


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