Seniors: Emails that Hurt

Jul 25th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It saddens me when receiving emails and other messages that communicate, likely without realizing that the result hurts and disrespects. Particularly is this so when the subject deals with persons of other races, religious persuasions, and orientations.  Racism and bigotry is a constant battle, especially in circles of people who show religious piety.

Oh, come on, they will say, it is just a joke. Yes, but often a joke injures and shows little or no regard to the target of the “joke.” It also ignores the feelings of those of us who do not share such insults and injury.  I grew up in a part of the south where such verbiage has long been a common practice, such behavior has long been held as acceptable. In order to hold membership in the cultural club, one both tells and joins in gales of laughter when ethnic and other “jokes” are told. It proves something. It proves that those in the circle are part of the club. It proves that dishonor is an acceptable behavior that somehow raises the status of the ‘teller’ over the ‘object’. It demonstrates insensitivity and, well yes, bigotry. Oh no, they would say, its just clean fun. Clean? Is it clean when belittling someone else, their ethnicity, their religion, their humanity? Is it fun when someone is assaulted to the core of his or her very being? Is it just joking around to put someone else down in a futile attempt to raise one’s own status?

We think not. We think all of us are denigrated, when any of us is. We think that being a part of such a club is one whose membership we do not covet. We think that insults are a sad commentary on attempting to be a part of the group. We think sticks and stones and words all have the potential to hurt.

So, when next time you are met with another of these oft told, off color stories, stop and think.  Think about what it does to your own self respect, about how it makes anyone in its hearing feel, about how it belittles you for the telling or sharing more than it does the subject of a very bad “joke.”

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