Heavy weight of words

Many offensive slurs that are posted online are perceived as just jokes, according to an article in the Globe and Mail on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

A poll conducted by the Associated Press and MTV showed that 71 per cent of those surveyed claimed they’re more likely to encounter slurs and derogatory remarks online when compared with face-to-face encounters.

Typed words lack tone and are received differently than spoken phrases. But the way a typed comment can make someone feel is no different than if it is said aloud.

As social media expands, we do an increasing amount of our communication through text rather than speech, but the same etiquette should apply regardless of the medium. Words that aren’t appropriate in conversation aren’t appropriate for text either.

The frequency of hurtful words makes people more prone to tolerate them, but it doesn’t mitigate the hurt and offense these words can inflict.

It’s an awful experience to be cursed at ­— one that shouldn’t be accepted, whether online or in person.

Those who say, “You can’t take a joke,” simply don’t understand the weight of their words. Thinking it’s alright to address friends with derogatory words is a problem and it needs to be discouraged.

There’s a lack of moderation on social media sites like Twitter which means that there are no official methods to rebuke someone. Offences largely go unchecked, and so the language proliferates and is tacitly accepted.

People don’t grow out of this kind of language until they’re in an environment where it’s not accepted.

It isn’t enough to assume that people leave offensive language behind when they enter the professional world; this way of communicating should be discouraged no matter someone’s age.

Personas we create for ourselves online don’t always match who we are in real life, but what many fail to realize is that the Internet is public and permanent.

Phrases posted online can be dragged up at any point in the future. Using offensive slurs is a poor reflection of character and could affect how a prospective employer views an applicant.

It’s important that the Internet remain an open and uncensored forum where ideas can be shared frankly.

What needs to be ingrained into online culture is a sense that those we communicate with are human, and should be treated like it.


Bullying, Social media

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