What defines a bad word?

This is what our world has come to. Using male genitalia to insult our friends and classmates. Using degrading words in the halls to flag down other students. I don’t particularly care when others swear around me, but this is beginning to make me rethink what I say. We hear F-bomb after F-bomb. We hear “Man that’s gay.” and the N-word dropped in every situation. Isn’t this school is supposed to be a safe place, but now it’s just a building with halls full knives that are disguised as words.

“…I don’t see any time that it’s a good idea [to swear]. I feel like it’s very immature and it can be offensive to people and make people uncomfortable. So I just don’t see any reason to…” said a sophomore Emily Horton.

If swearing makes people uncomfortable. Why do we do it?

Bad words are not only swear words. They are words that are bad in context or situations. When asked about what context makes it a bad thing? Most students suggested the N word and using it around students who don’t like to hear that specific word. Others might say words are just words. For example, Julian Jackson told me this and I agree as much as I disagree. The rhyme goes “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But they do! Bones will heal and words can never be taken back.

Using a sexuality as an insult makes students wonder if being out is a good or a bad thing. “Gay” has become an insult for others to use when people hate on things. We hear “Man that’s gay.” and “You’re so gay,” said casually in context that hurts people and hurts their pride to be out and free. Gay is a sexuality and not an insult.

Using a word that once affected an entire race as greeting for your “friends” makes us sound ignorant. But also we hear the N words used as a word with no real meaning. But it has a huge meaning. It is a word that once made people feel like their race was a curse. This word still haunts America today. For some, it is a constant reminder of what was happening in the U.S. around the time when people were segregated by the color of their skin.