Opinions

I started an opinion blog so that I wouldn’t have to do research. I’m very lazy and tend to bust these posts out each Sunday afternoon and schedule it to post on Monday at 5. That being said, I did some research and added the links I was sent at the bottom of the post. They both concern Language and I looked up ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ because it was brought up and I didn’t know what it was.

TL;DR: No language should be off limits, how we use the words were given is what matters. I don’t care what you want to do in your spare time so stop ruining potentially good media with tokenism.

I received feedback concerning my last two posts, Language and Homosexuality. They weren’t happy with what I said and asked me to do some research on the history of the word nigger and homosexual oppression.

We’ll start with the problems mentioned about Language…

Firstly, you express the theory that I was saying ‘words have no meaning so why do we get offended by words’ when that is little more than a half-truth to my point. I do believe that words are meaningless, individual words are meaningless. Strung together, words have the power to inspire and to discourage. Words may very well be the most infinitely powerful instruments to our world. My point was to express how important context is.

Which brings us to the next point. When I said, ‘If I came up to you and said nigger context-free…’ you mentioned it wouldn’t be context-free if I were to say it to a black person. I concede that that is a fair point. The simple fact of the matter is that word does have a history. My overall point was that saying it shouldn’t be used and choosing to be offended by it gives it even more power than it deserves. Also, if you automatically assume that me using the word nigger is racist because of the color of my skin, you’re the racist one. Which in your defense a weak argument, I grant you, but not entirely untrue.

The last of your points on this post is when I break down the words we deem as bad words. ‘Fuck is sex, shit is poop, etc.’ you mention, ‘If I were out at a bar and someone were to call me a cunt, you’re saying that I’m just supposed to not care, no biggie, cunt means vagina.’ That’s not what I’m saying at all. I want to express the importance of context. I’m saying that on its own, cunt holds only the meaning we give it when we get upset over its simple use. Of course, when words are used to do harm, you shouldn’t just brush them off.

Onto the videos. The first one, on the NPR website, showcases my point to a T. In the video, a blind homeless man has a sign saying ‘I’m blind, please help’ to very little reciprocation from passersby. A woman walks by and changes the sign to say ‘It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it’ to which people give endlessly. In both signs, his blindness is expressed, however the context is tweaked. The article goes on to conclude that words are neither a good or bad thing. They both tear us apart and pull us together which I agree with. If you read the article, you will understand. Naming everything we see can give us a bystander’s detachment, or make us feel closer with what we’re describing. It all depends on context.

The second video, right off the bat, showcases a woman asking about the word ‘nigga’ and what she should do or say to her friends who choose to use it. The man says a lot that I agree with and a few things I don’t. His main points are due to relationships. For instance, he doesn’t call his father ‘Billy’ despite others having referred to his father as such because that’s not the relationship he has with his father. His wife and her friend call each other ‘bitches’ which he doesn’t join in on. The LGBT community uses ‘Faggot’ ironically within their community which he chooses not to join in on for obvious reasons. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying I’d like to walk around my workplace calling every black coworker ‘nigga’ although there is one black coworker I have who doesn’t mind because of the relationship I’ve developed with him. If I were to call my mother by her first name, she would likely be confused, but certainly not offended. If I were to call my friend’s cunts in public, other people wouldn’t get angry. When my mother hears me call them cunts, at most she says ‘I don’t like that word’ not ‘don’t talk to people like that’ the context of words has started to lose meaning, and that needs to be protected. The man goes on to say that white people think they deserve the things in the world. He says that we feel we coined the word nigger and we deserve to use it. Both statements are untrue. I don’t think the world owes me anything which is why I have a job and don’t live on welfare dishonestly… take that as you like. I certainly don’t think that since white people invented ‘nigger,’ I should be able to use it. I wasn’t around when it was coined, so I certainly had no hand in its beginnings. There’s this idea that white people are somehow responsible for the deeds of white people before or that we are reaping rewards of misdeeds, but that’s simply untrue which is well outlined in this video we need to take responsibility for ourselves, not our race. Language is supposed to be the one thing that isn’t limited, to anyone. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind or make anyone ok with me saying nigger. I’m simply sharing what I think. Whether you agree or not is as much your right as saying what I like is mine. If you disagree and have a good reason, or even no reason, you are more than welcome to share that either in a comment or by email. For some reason, the contact sec5tion of this site won’t work. I tried using it under a different email and couldn’t find the message so if you’d like to contact me directly, my email is jameswpeaston@gmail.com.

MOVING ON

The next post on homosexuality also held some scrutiny. You say that what I want is an unrealistic utopia. Obviously, wanting everyone to see everyone else the same and judge based on character is an impossible ideal considering you can’t change how people think. But that’s kind of the point of the post. You can’t change how people think so why do you keep jamming the idea down everyone’s throat in the worst ways? I’m not saying everyone should be smiley happy times I’m saying that fictional characters should have character. That wasn’t a metaphor for real life it was as it was written.

You make the point that black and Asian representation in video games is lacking and I’m gruff and unfeeling for not wanting to see representation. I don’t dislike minority characters. I dislike tokenism. All too often, good storytelling is sacrificed for pandering. Minority characters are shoved in to meet a quota. Why do minority groups need representation? I’m not saying it’s bad to have different kinds of characters, but if you need a character to look like you to be relatable, I think you are the one with a problem. Take Shrek for example. I clearly relate to him because of my skin’s sallow green tint and my tendency to spread eye jelly on toast right? Or is it maybe because I once felt the world was against me? It may not have been true… ok, it wasn’t true, but the point was I related to his character, not his appearance. There is a Netflix original show called Kimmy Schmidt: Unbreakable. It’s absolutely awful. And yet I watched the first two seasons through twice. The only reason I watched was because of Titus Andromedon, the black gay roommate to the star of the show. Unfortunately, he couldn’t save the third season from being bad, so I stopped watching. No one should need representation to enjoy a relatable character. Still not convinced? That’s ok. Again, I’m not here to convince anyone of anything.

Finally, you ask me to consider ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ If you don’t already know, it was a military initiative between 1994 and 2011 that basically said, if you’re openly gay you can’t be in the military, if you’re in the military don’t tell and don’t ask about sexual orientation. I’m not going to lie, I don’t see the problem with the concept. Now, obviously gay people shouldn’t be barred from the military for that reason alone, but am I wrong in saying that for a long time the LGBT community has been trying to tell everyone that their orientation had nothing to do with their character? In the military, you have no identity. In fairness, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it’s not far from the truth. Names are nothing more than identifiers, hence why only last names are used and all that really matters is your title. So why is your sexual identity important? Someone obsessing over whether they are scrutinized in the military by whether you want to have sex with a man or not probably shouldn’t be serving their country. In the military, you’re a soldier first. At the end of the day, if you want to share with friends and family that’s great, but why does the world need to know? I’ll say again in this post for redundancy’s sake, anyone who agrees with you already knows so there’s no point spoiling media and anyone who doesn’t agree certainly won’t be changed by constant pushing. As a matter of fact, this consistency only makes those people hate it more. I used to be something of an advocate for the LGBT community in high school, and now all I’m left with are ill feelings and irritation. If that makes me gruff and unfeeling so be it.

Now I suppose it’s time to get to the actual post.

All opinions have merit. At the same time, no opinions matter. It all comes down to… you guessed it, context. To me, and to any individual, all opinions have merit. Being an opinion, it isn’t something that explicitly needs justification. In mass, no opinions have merit. In this platform my opinions are meaningless. If you enjoy reading that’s all I can ask for. I have no evidence or recourses to back up my claims, that’s what makes them opinions and it’s just another anecdotal wash of meaningless dribble. I bring this up because that was an accusation placed on my last posts. ‘Your posts are losing merit, and you may lose subscribers.’ My thoughts about losing subs are that I simply don’t care. If I end up with no subs that’s ok. I’m certainly not going to alter what I write and my thoughts because I want to pander to an audience. The reason I’m responding so publicly is to clear up anything I may have been unclear about, not to try to justify myself.

Now on the subject of opinions as a whole. Opinions are important. They make us who we are. So why is it that opinions are so often stigmatized? Now, I don’t mean the type of opinion that says, ‘I hate black people,’ I’m referring to simple, unimportant things. Too often I’m told I’m wrong because I don’t like certain foods or amusement park rides or movies. Hell, people are often shocked if I as much as haven’t seen their favorite show. At the end of the day, people are allowed to think differently. That’s why you’re still reading this right? To see a different perspective? Or is it to justify your anger? I don’t think that’s the case. If I’ve learned anything about angry internet patrons, it’s that they don’t need justification to be angry.

In this place, I want opinions to be nurtured. Good, bad, tough, and mild no opinion should be silenced. If you want to share negative feedback with me privately, I’ll respond privately. If you leave a negative public comment, I’ll respond publicly. In both cases, I’ll do my best to respond as politely as possible while still sharing my side. I also happen to know the sender of this current feedback in real life, and despite how I might try, I do care what they think to an extent so I decided this would be a good way to share their point of view while clearing up anything I might have been vague about.

https://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2011/07/19/138473791/words-hurt-the-world-poet-says

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO15S3WC9pg

3 thoughts on “Opinions

    1. And I don’t 100% disagree. Of course, every word said automatically has context attached. Even if it isn’t verbal, there is situational context. For instance, if I were to walk up to a random black person and say ‘nigger,’ there may be no verbal context, but there is the context of body language, how that person sees the word, and the fact that a white person is yelling ‘nigger at a black person. If I haven’t developed a relationship with that person the context could be automatically has a negative considering that the word does hold unfortunate history. That’s why context is so important. I am as offended by someone calling me a retard as I am by someone calling me a dickhead. The problem I have is with these ‘special’ words. I occasionally get offended when someone speaks badly about me in anger rather than by the specific words they choose. if a third party hears me say ‘nigger’ with a select group of friends they may turn their nose up or even confront me directly however with any other word they will ignore with exception to the presence of kids where they confront concerning the whole list.

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