Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why is my Language so Violent?

A couple weeks ago, at work, one of my coworkers thought she was blocking my path, and apologized.  "I'd shove past you if you were in my way," I joked.  

I needed to submit some paperwork the other day, and I explained to a friend that I was going to get my ass kicked if I didn't get it done right away.

I told a coworker to "whup me upside the head" if I forgot to set up a meeting.

What the heck is wrong with me?  

I have recently started working with an agency devoted to ending the cycle of domestic violence.  We have a shelter, plus outstanding counseling services, and tremendous outreach efforts through schools, hospitals, and the police.  It's amazing what has been done, and lives are truly being saved.  My coworkers save lives.  Obviously, I'm thrilled to be a part of this work. 

But look at the language I use in my daily life.  

I'm not going overboard in the mea culpa here, either.  I'm no worse than most people, and, with my new awareness, I'm probably a little better than many.  But, now that I've started paying attention, I am honestly shocked at the level of violence most people are comfortable with in their speech.  

Football teams "destroy" and "crush" each other.  On Tuesday, some politician will "whip" another.  Polls suggest that the Republicans will "annihilate" the Democrats.  If you listen to the news, it will sound like a play-by-play of a Mixed Martial Arts match when you focus in on the violent language used to present the stories.

I'm a peaceful person.  I don't commit violence and I don't personally experience violence often.  I no longer want my language to make violence seem more commonplace or acceptable than it is.  

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