“Language informs behavior.”
This was a quote I heard recently on a local public radio station as stated by Dottie Morris, the Chief Officer of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs At KSC. This was in reference to two local ‘officials’ (one a police chief and one a politician) making racial remarks in public. One was overheard in a private conversation in a public place, which sparked much public debate about his first amendment right to freedom of speech.
Living in a small New England state that prides itself in freedom of all sorts it didn’t surprise me that, while people might not like what this man said, they felt he had the right to say it. So they called in to this local talk show and said so. Emphatically.
But when Ms. Morris said these three simple words: language informs behavior, I stood dead still in my kitchen. There were no more words needed to say, although the show had about 45 minutes still to air. I didn’t have to listen to much else after those words because she was so right.
Someone who says degrading, derogatory and prejudicial remarks would not ever be someone whose behavior you would expect to be anything but superior, mean and discriminatory. Certainly no-one should act these ways, but to have our public figures represented by these attributes is disgraceful!
She went on to explain that these behaviors will lead them to create or vote for certain legislation or profile people and even treat their constituents/community members differently. And this is unacceptable. We don’t even need to discuss the police issue as its rampant in the news. Sadly, an incident like this only supports the public’s outcry.
So there is no excuse. If words are coming out of someone’s mouth, in a public place or private, and they are clearly negative towards another race, sex, orientation or whatever, then obviously that person’s heart and soul feel a certain way. There is no convincing me otherwise! Oh ‘it’s just a joke’ is bologna!
Remember the wise words…when it comes to anything really: LANGUAGE INFORMS BEHAVIOR
And watch (and think) about what you say.