Today, I saw a tweet from the well known parody writer, Weird Al apologizing because he didn't know the word spastic was offensive.
I didn't know it was offensive.
I read some of the comments and some of the reasons why people were offended by it. Apparently the word is sometimes used as a derogatory word for people with cerebral palsy. In the song, he did say "a spastic," a noun. As far as my limited memory goes, spastic has been shortened to spaz and is usually reserved for people who are...well, spazzing out. Acting kind of crazy or uncontrolled. Danny sometimes acts spazzy. I tell him to stop spazzing out. I am not insinuating that he has cerebral palsy, or anything to do with cerebral palsy. I am not intending to offend anyone by using a word or phrase that SOME PEOPLE use as derogatory to some people with a disease.
There is so much talk about shaming lately. Offensive words and things that hurt our delicate sensibilities. I don't really HAVE delicate sensibilities. If someone calls me a name, a) maybe it's true b) maybe they don't know me very well or c) they are just not very smart or mature. If someone uses a word in my presence- I acknowledge it for what it is. It's a word. Sticks and stones and all.
I know that bullying is real. I know that saying something hurtful and degrading to someone with cerebral palsy, with the intent to shame or bully that person- that sucks. Doesn't matter what words they use. When an attack is personal, it hurts on a personal level. But when someone is using a word because it also rhymes with "fantastic"- I don't think his intention is to hurt, degrade or offend anyone.
Nobody seemed bothered by the fact that the whole SONG completely rags on people with bad grammar. Have we looked at test scores in the US? Are we surprised that people have bad grammar skills? Should people who can't spell very well also be offended? What about people with dyslexia? Grammar snobs are praising the song because there's nothing more offensive than noticing someone misused an apostrophe. Even though you KNOW what they meant. A misspelled word does not render the sentence complete gibberish. Maybe I'm offended that you INSIST on pointing out every fucking mistake I make. Stop nagging me, bitches. If you cant hang, dont hang.
Yes I did that on purpose.
The article I read went on to say something about expecting a level of sensitivity from celebrities. Ok, remember Fat? White and Nerdy? Canadian Idiot? Oh but those were funny!!! If you don't like people who get laughs at the expense of another person, you simply can't leave the house, or watch TV, or go on the internet, or listen to the radio, or have friends.
Don't get me wrong. Hate speech is real. It is a personal attack on a person, or a group. Words with the intent to hurt, usually hit their mark. Words that are said without the intent to hurt anyone, will only hurt people if they are standing around waiting to jump in front of them. I can be an activists just waiting for someone to oppress me, or I can acknowledge a persons intent.
This is not turning a blind eye to real and true bullying, oppression, or shaming, This is using my eyes, and my ears and my brain to know that without intent- it's not intended for anything malicious.