Start to use words more respectfully

Kysean Gregory Columnist

Before I get started, please don’t get upset about what I’m saying. I use some words that some people find offensive, but I plan on talking about these words, both why they confuse me, and why people may find them offensive.

I have been in communication training with co-workers and we have been talking about hot buttons lately. Hot buttons are words that could be considered offensive to a person or a group of people. We have been talking about these words as well as language in general for the last two trainings at work. I like hearing other people’s opinions on the matter, mainly because most of their opinions are different from mine.

Personally, I’m from Virginia and as you can guess, the people there have different views and opinions than some of the people up here in the Midwest. Now, don’t get me wrong, the way people think up here is not wrong, or a problem, it is just different than what I am used to. Up here in South Dakota, I can admit that people are far nicer than the people that I call my friends back in Virginia. 

I really try to understand words, and how they might affect people, or offend them so harshly. Words are important and have a different meaning to everyone. I want to look into two words that most people consider to be rude or offensive and why they might feel that way.

 Let’s start with ‘B****’, yep, this word is one of the most used as well as one of the most offensive words today. I personally use this word when I’m talking to my friends, that is how I choose to describe them, or let them know that I consider them as a friend. Now, that’s just my interpretation of this word. All my friends know that’s how I use the word, so I know that I do not have to worry about offending them. The other way to use this word is the one most people actually uses it for. 

Now, ladies if you get called this, you should own it, be proud of it, or even really let it affect you, or the way you think about yourself. Nine times out of ten, if you are getting called this, there are reasons that a person is using this word to describe your actions. If everyone is nice to each other, there is no longer a reason for this word to be used offensively. 

 Next, the “N” word, everyone can see how this word is offensive to people. I really only hate this word because of the reaction that I see that people have when it is used. I especially have a problem with African Americans that use this word in everyday communication. 

My biggest issue is now people can get mad when one race calls them something, yet they will call a person of the same race as them, that same word. Most people consider this word as racist, but the problem with that is, they only consider it racist when a non-African American uses it. Quick question, does the definition of the word change just because of the color of the skin of the person that chooses to use it?

Words are important, and mean different things to different people, but if we all choose to be respectful with the words we use with each other, then less people will be offended and no matter where we are from, we will be able to communicate successfully. 


Kysean Gregory is majoring in exploratory studies. He can be reached at [email protected]