Friday, May 04, 2007
I mentioned to my UT-Arlington students that I once studied Neuro- Linguistics, essentially to teach one concept: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.
The reason for teaching this lesson was because I learned, while living in prison, men will try to provoke you with “words”. It is the art of using words to affect the nervous (neurological) system, otherwise we call it our “insides”. Words can hurt.
Recently, offensive words have become the subject of the day, after the Imus virtus and the clones and clowns that followed him “putting their foot in their financial mouths”.
The one that baffles me the most in racial slurs is that of Rush Limbaugh calling Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama, “The Magic Negro”. Is Rush trying to provoke a controversy in order to continue spreading his little subtle, subliminal messages against Negroes.
I gave my students examples of racism and intentional provocations in prison, where black prisoners were subjected to the all-white prison guard forces before the integrated workforce- in face-to-face confrontation with overt bigotry. I had hoped my students would learn not let racial slurs deter them from their main objective.
Fortunately, one recent graduate student verified how it felt being the “only chocolate chip in the cookie”.