Friday, September 29, 2017

Symbols of Hate

Recently, we have been bombarded by news of hate symbols. These symbols have varied from Swastikas to cotton balls. Yes, you heard this right. There has been two instances of people being offended by decorations made from raw cotton, which is common throughout the southeast where cotton is one of the main crops. These decorations are enjoyed for their rustic beauty.

The use of certain words have been a point of contention. A sorority was threatened with suspension for singing along with a hip-hop song that contained the word “niggas”. This is a word I have often heard by whites and blacks since it became popular in the hip-hop music genre.

This has brought about another argument, banning use of the word for only white people. This country has fought hard for equal rights. If we start segregating words to a particular race, we have taken a giant leap backwards. If a word is offensive, no one should be using that word in a public setting. If you feel a word is truly offensive, you are being a hypocrite if you sit and listen to music containing such words.

This brings me to the point of this writing, and that's symbols of hate, which includes words. Words and symbols have power only if you give them power. When a person gets angry or is offended by a word or symbol, they give it power. Ignoring such things removes that power over you.

The Swastika is likely one of the most widely despised symbols on the planet. In Germany the symbol is so despised that it's banned. Banning symbols or words does nothing. History cannot be changed, and hiding history is a dangerous practice because it is then more likely to be repeated.

When an individual or hate group realizes a word or symbol has power over a person, they will use that as a device to get a reaction. No law or ban will prevent this from happening. Even if you manage to get a word or symbol banned, those who hate will simply create a new word or symbol to get a reaction. They can do this only because the offended gives them this power.

Southerners are made fun of all the time. There are such terms as “trailer trash, cracker, and redneck” that are often used as offensive terms. They have no power because people just let them roll to the side when tossed. You might say those words can't compare to racial slurs. You're right, because southerners refuse to give those words power.

The word “redskin” has caused some anger. There has been a battle to force the Washington Redskins to change their name. Yes, that word has sometimes been used as a negative, but it has more often represented strength and honor, which is one reason the football franchise chose the word.

The word “negro” is simply Spanish for the color black. Yet that word has been effectively banned by some, while it is still used by those speaking Spanish. This is a word that has been banned by use for selected races and allowed for one.

Throughout history there have been words labeled as curse words. In the USA a small child can say “bloody” and no one pays attention. In the United Kingdom it's a curse word. The world “Hell” is mentioned often in the bible because it's a location. In common language it's labeled a curse word. We have no idea the origin of most curse words, we're just told from an early age they're unacceptable in a civil society. Somewhere along the line someone gave those words power.

Today, we hear many words used on television that were banned ten years ago. The more those words are used the less power they have. We can remove the power from curse words by just seeing them as another word.

It's easy to be sensitive to certain words. It takes courage to look those words in the face and smile. Some people are more easily offended than others. Are those people really offended or are they trying to use those words and symbols to empower themselves? I believe it's the latter. They might be slightly offended, but their main goal is to gain power over another. By doing this they become what they hate.

No matter the word, the intent behind the word is more important than it's use. Those who have the intention to offend you with words, don't care if you ban a word. As I said, they might even create a new offensive term simply because they can. They know they have power over you because you have given them that power.

The biggest danger is the division of races or identity groups by banning words or symbols for a single race. These types of things are not only a danger because it creates even more racial tension, it divides society. I remember the days of segregation and never understood it as seen through my child-like eyes.

To save yourself and society, remove the power from words by remembering it's the person and not words with the power. That power is the ability to anger you to the point of violence by simply uttering a phrase.

In Charlottesville, protesters carried candles on a stick, torches as described by some. This symbolism angered some to the point they attacked the protesters. Was this the intent of the protesters from the beginning? Likely so. Anger by both sides was escalated to the point people were injured and killed. If the power had been stripped from that symbolic torch, the protest might have ended peacefully.

Never forget, you are the one in control of your emotions. Take control of your life and remove power from all symbols of hate. Turn offensive words into words even racists won't care to use. You have the power to turn symbols of hate into inert objects.

Be careful of the object you attempt to turn into a symbol of hate. There are those who wish to make the American flag a symbol of hate. When you attempt to turn a symbol of pride into one of hate, you might be setting a fire that will grow quickly out of control.

Update 10/13/17:

Another object of hate was brought to my attention this week. A Detroit firefighter showed up for work on his first day. There is a tradition for new firemen to bring food or drink their first day. 41-year-old Robert Pattison, showed up his first day, excited about the new job, with a watermelon under his arm. Everyone loves fresh watermelon, right?

It seems the Detroit fire department, which is made up of 90% blacks, didn't appreciate the gift. They saw the watermelon as racist and the new fireman was immediately fired. You would think this couldn't happen in America, but it surely can. Being offended has reached such a level that you have to be careful what foods you offer to progressives. It seems fried chicken is also on the list of offensive foods.

Yes, chicken and watermelon has been used in the past to stereotype black people, but haven't we moved past that? Apparently not. It seems society is always searching for new and old ways to be offended. We thought America was being united after a majority of whites elected a black president, we now see it did just the opposite. America is more divided than ever.

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