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Pastor uses incident as teaching moment to bolster sensitivity

Published: Friday, Feb. 22 2013 9:41 a.m. MST

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happy2BGrandma
Pleasant Grove, UT

Excellent article regarding a real concern I've had for years. Certain words, used to insult others in sports will never be okay. These racial slur's meanings don't culturally change. Also, I really have a problem when guys (boys or men) who want to insult another male athlete, so they use a variety of negative words that are used to describe women. Sometimes they use these terms to fully insult the opposition, and other times are used in a, "buddy," kind of format. Please knock it off! There are many highly-skilled female athletes out there that really deserve respect. Thanks

GD
Syracuse, UT

Good article. I totally agree. As an elementary child I use to us the "eeny meeny" phrase to start some games. I had no idea who an African American was. Later I moved to a different community and one of my best friends was African American. My parents taught me not to use the "n" word. It wasn't until I started teaching school in Layton when I heard some black kids using it with each other. I challenged them on it and they said it was okay so long as you were black.
I definitely agree with Mr. Davis. I don't think there is a right time to use the word. It carries with it too many connotations of disrespect from the past. There are a lot of words that are disrespectful to different people. We need to be sensitive to them by how we speak. Thanks again for the article.
Gary

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Sticks and stones can brake my bones but names can never hurt me.

GaDave
Conyers, Ga

I was a little offended by saying it is different in the "South"? Since, I live in a majority black neighborhood and city it is still a word most people find offensive anywhere. There are also many racial slurs against whites that I hear on a regular basis that are equally offensive. It has been and continues to be the Policital Class that divides our Nation for their gain. We are all just plain Americans. Don't allow those that use Race to gain power to divide us.

Montana Mormon
Miles City, MT

Slurs of any type are wrong, whether they are based on race, religion, national or regional origin, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, political affiliation...whatever. Sadly, we live in a mean-spirited world and we all need to take a close look inside ourselves and do a painful and honest inventory of ways we can improve in how we treat others around us. I know I have had to do that and I still do. Based on what I read, see, and hear, the need is universal.

washcomom
Beaverton, OR

Will there ever be a way of stopping the use of slang and slurs from being used in derogatory ways? Probably not, but it is great that there was a large seminar to deal with this type of insensitivity and to create a better atmosphere of sportsmanship.
Well done.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

I too was raised with the ethic that racial slurs were tantamount to any other profanity and thus, mouth-wash worthy.

However, I think that we have now gone too far in the opposite direction, to the point where we can only refer to profanity in ways similar to spelling out "bad" words while in the company of children.

If we have prohibited the expression of profanity even when used in a context that is intended to only be informative and/or instructive and not the least offensive, then we have succumbed to the dumbing-down process that starts with the ridiculous and hurtful of using these words offensively.

I view making --all-- uses of these words, irrespective of intend, as just another side of the same coin of stupidity, and therefore equally offensive.

RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT

3 years ago my son-in-law was coaching a 9 year old team for his son in Spanish Fork. Half way through the 3rd period one of his players turned to a boy of African ancestry and called him the N-word.

A player from the other team pushed the foul-mouthed boy and the coaches raced to stop the melee from escalating. He led his boys back to the bench to find out what happened. Reluctantly the boys told the whole story. The offender denied he did anything but the rest said he did it. The parents overheard and started shouting to the coach to not make a big deal about it. My son-in-law, who was all-state center in basketball went over to the other coach and apologized for the bad behavior and then forfeited the game.

The boy's parents were furious when he quietly asked the offending boy to apologize for his slur. The boy was indignant and stomp off the court to be with his parents. The rest of the parents congratulated the coach for so strongly emphasizing that this kind of behavior is intolerable.

I am still proud of him.

Montana Mormon
Miles City, MT

@George of the Jungle: When I was a child, I used to invoke that "stick and stones" quote as a defense mechanism; however, it never worked for me. Hurtful words hurt. I like this quote from the Apocrypha of the 1611 Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible:

Ecclesiasticus 28:17 – 18

17 The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh, but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones.
18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: but not so many as have fallen by the tongue.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@Montana Mormon

"Slurs of any type are wrong, whether they are based on race, religion, national or regional origin, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, political affiliation...whatever."

I find your post a little ironic considering your username contains the word "Mormon", which is a slur used by enemies of the LDS Church to describe its members. True, church members have adopted it to some degree which has taken a bit of the sting out of it (similar to how some African-Americans have adopted the n-word into their lexicon), but it doesn't change the fact that the word "Mormon" is a religious slur.

If you want to get on a high horse about the use of slurs, maybe you should remove the one that's in your username.

Montana Mormon
Miles City, MT

Brave Sir Robin: I don't see "Mormon" as a slur. I don't find offense with the term "Mormon Tabernacle Choir." Sorry to disagree with you. Yes, it was a slur in the earlier days of the Church, but the connotation has evolved.

aunt lucy
Looneyville, UT

We must teach respect, civility, and tolerance to our children and hold them accountable in their actions. However, watching more and more adults in our society in political and religous settings give me little hope. I do applaud the actions of those invovled in this story. It's an example of adults being the adults.

RockOn
Spanish Fork, UT

A word from President David O. McKay on using words...

Boys flying kites haul in their white winged birds,
But you can't do that when you're flying words.
Thoughts sometimes unexpressed often lie back dead,
But even God can't kill them once they're said.

morpunkt
Glendora, CA

My wife and I remember when our oldest daughter started hearing the word "retarded" being used at school, as a demeaning slur. We were very proud of how she confronted the perpetrators, as we have a severely handicapped son, with both Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy. She was very offended, and rightfully so. However, we were quite saddened to hear a young women's leader use it in church, in apparent attempt to be more popular and conventional with the young women. I think there are other educational opportunities as well.

mattmo
Gallatin, MO

The only way to prevent this is within our homes as we teach our children that this is not acceptable. Also in our communities when situations arise such as mentioned in a sporting event above. We can't make laws and regulations against such things we just need to fix it as it happens.

sanpaco
Sandy, UT

So many times I hear stuff like "its a cultural thing" as a way for minority races to exclude white people from feeling like they have the political authority or ability to do anything about a situation without being called a racist or a bigot. Let me ask you who is the party practicing racism when the excuse "its a cultural thing" is used? Isn't that the same argument the white slave owners used to argue why black people were no good for anything other than slavery? Wake up people.

rnoble
Pendleton, OR

One clue about the use of language ought to be:

Is this use available to all or is it limited to one segment of our society?

Another Clue:

Is this language considered demeaning to the target, or could it cause concern for others who overhear but are not targeted?

In either of these cases, the use should be avoided. I guess most will notice that these two rules would apply to a lot more than just culturally sensitive language and, if followed, would lead to a reduction of crude, insensitive, and demeaning language. It might also result in more civilized rhetoric and less name calling of any kind. Lets hope for that.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

From President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord. Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. . . . Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such."

gdog3finally
West Jordan, Utah

@mattmo

Yes obviously we should teach our kids in our homes that this is not acceptable. The problem is that inside many homes there are still racist views being shared and condoned that are hidden from public view until it leaks out like we had in this story. We may not want to admit it or address it, but it's very real and prominent nonetheless.

PayJota
Salt Lake City, UT

I certainly don't accept the use of "the N-word" but I wish there were as much concern over other "swear words" that are not racially charged but that are at least as repugnant and hateful and "forms of bullying. Wouldn't it be nice if we educated our children with equal vigor about those words?

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