Cursing: Why You Shouldn't Care

May 29, 2012
By Krish_Lingala GOLD, New City, New York
Krish_Lingala GOLD, New City, New York
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Poop. Stupidhead. Shut up. Crap. D**n. Go**amn. S**t. B**ch. F**k. C**t. Fa**ot. Ni**er. At different points in our lives, each of these words holds an immense power over us and our peers. Some of them have a power and a stigma of nastiness that has gripped our society in fear. In some ways, it makes perfect sense. A word like “ni**er” holds a remarkable amount of history in it. A history of hatred and vitriol that immediately evokes a spine tingling discomfort when that hard “g” sound is spewed from a person’s mouth. At the same time, the word’s variant, “ni**a”, is thrown around with ease and comfort. Sure, it is generally accepted that only African Americans can use it, but it is not exactly rare to hear a Caucasian person throwing around “ni**a” with the same care-free nature, whether it be at a Jay-Z concert or in the privacy of his or her friends.
This changing of the word’s connotation has been met with disgust by many and not just in the black community. This puzzles me. If “ni**er” is a negative term, a bad term, why would changing its meaning to something more positive and welcoming be seen as something bad too? Isn’t it a good thing to remove a hurtful word and replace it with one that is friendly and accepting? Why would someone, not only give negative power to a word, but then protect that power? It doesn’t make sense and it’s just the first thing wrong with our society’s rampant fear of words.
Let’s look at the flipside; good words, honorable words. Are there any? Sure, there are complimentary words like “beautiful”, “intelligent”, or “dazzling”, but can any of these, on their own, have a positive effect equal to the negative effect of a word like “c**t” or “fa**ot”? I certainly don’t think so. The truly beautiful and empowering pieces of writing are not simply strings of “positive” words, but brilliant works of art, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
If positivity in writing requires such great intellect, then why is negativity simply relegated to a select few words that we’ve all deemed as “bad”? One answer could be that negativity is something that should be left to the unintelligent and the ignorant. While that would be nice, unfortunately, negativity is something that pervades every IQ bracket. So why do we make it so much easier for people to be negative than for them to be positive? Doesn’t it degrade the work a writer puts into crafting the written word when someone can say something negative and have it hit with as much or more power as a beautiful piece of prose? As a society, we have to be stronger than that. We can’t let simple words have such power over us, because to do so is to betray the complexity of our language and how beautiful it can truly be. If people are negative, they should have to work to express their negativity. The second we deprive “curse” words of their power, we remove a powerful tool from the arsenal of negative people.

The author's comments:
I've always kind of felt this way and I was inspired to write the piece after reading something the character of Jim Casy says early on in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." I've always hated the idea that a few simple words could have power over me.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Sep. 6 2012 at 2:30 pm
I really liked this piece. I see your point; you make is extremely clear with your questions and logic. I'm not totally for cursing, but I'm not totally against it...this piece really made me think of cursing in a different light.


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