I was in my office this morning and caught a report from the George Zimmerman trial on the news. The prosecution had a witness on the stand who was evidently a friend of Trayvon Martin. When asked, she stated that calling a white person ‘honky’ or ‘cracker’ should not be considered racial slurs. This statement raises a lot of questions for me, but after thinking about it for a while here’s my thought.
It is only hurtful or inflammatory language if I allow it to be. You, or anyone, can call me any negative name you would like to, but it’s still in my power to accept or deny those titles. It is my choice how I react to those statements, or any statements. Just because another person launches some type of verbal assault against me doesn’t mean I have to accept it. Actually, I don’t have to do anything. Nothing at all. I have the free choice to walk away from that person at anytime. Their words can only affect me if I choose to let them.
I have been called many negative things in my life by various races of people. Most of which occurred while I was a police officer. None of those names could be allowed to cloud my judgement of the law or the person. They were, are words and nothing more. I may not like the intent behind the words, but again that is my choice to like, not like, or be indifferent.
So, in the end who is responsible for your reactions, your feelings? Is it really all in the hands of another person? Is it really the right thing to let another person’s words affect you or me to such an extent that we are willing to give up time and energy to try to exact punishment or revenge on them? Obviously, there are places where such things are outside the bounds of appropriate behavior. But, speaking of a one to one situation outside of any other situations, it is your job to decide what words you accept. Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your own feelings. You are the only one that can control them.