Wise Words


“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.

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Walk In Peace


So I was thinking about my post yesterday about the horror of the Boston Marathon and about what I wrote as humans having the natural tendency to gather in groups. That from prehistoric times, this is something we did as hunter-gatherers and this instinct has carried on into modern times. It’s part of what makes us human. This behavior, but also speech and the desire to worship and have religions, are some of the main things that make us different from ‘animals’.

I thought about how our ‘right’ to gather in groups or assemble, is being threatened now by other humans. And how we consider this a ‘right’ because it’s actually in our U.S. Constitution as a first amendment right.  The right to assemble, just like freedom of speech and religion. 

And I thought: isn’t that interesting? That our forefathers took the pieces that make us human and created laws to protect those parts! Because speech and religion is specific to us (or at least in the sense that we think of it). Even the right to bear arms! Only we have weapons! Animals may have crude tools, but not weapons. And we must have a special law to protect this ‘right’ also. Now look how having these weapons are coming around full cycle. They protect and harm at the same time. 

Sure there are many, many laws. And some maybe would intersect with the animal kingdom I suppose. (Like animals have territory). But it seems that the most important ones that we put on the top of the list are specific to us. The ones we hold most dear and fight for most passionately! I am human: let me speak, let me assemble, let me pray!  These are my rights. This makes me who I am and it is the law. 

As these things are now being taken by terrorists–every time a bomb goes off during a speech, or in a church, or a marathon, we lose a bit of our humanness. And each time that collective connection that binds us together seems to become more fragile.

Hope is another thing that makes us human. We cling to it desperately. Amidst the tears, the smoke and blood we can continue to hope for a better world. A world where what our forefathers created for us in our U.S. Constitution can be embraced by every citizen without fear. And that a new day will come where we all walk in peace.