A word rant…

As I am oft inclined to do (too often, might I add) I discuss politics with people across the ideological spectrum and lately have been struck with a blow to the head that practically knocked me out of my boots.  Okay, perhaps not out of my boots so much as sending my temper into the stratosphere but, nonetheless, struck I was.  I’m not going to espouse my own political philosophy here but would like to talk a bit about words and how very far reaching those mere syllables are – particularly when people use them WRONG.

A friend of mine and I were discussing the word bigotry and I had used it to discuss the marginalization people are committing by assuming a category for an individual, blasting that individual for the perceived belonging into that group and sometimes accusing that person of being a bigot (not saying that isn’t necessarily true but that’s kinda like the pot calling the kettle black).  So, let us discuss the word bigotry as defined by my favorite online resource – dictionary.reference.com.

big·ot·ry

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// ]]>bigotry pronunciation /ˈbɪgətri/ Show Spelled[big-uh-tree] Show IPA

–noun,plural-ries.

1.

stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
2.

the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

Origin:
1665–75; bigot + -ry, formation parallel to F bigoterie

—Synonyms
1. narrow-mindedness, bias, discrimination.

We can note that a person speaking about ideals not based upon the categorization, and too frequently occurring marginalization, of an individual’s characteristics is not bigotry.  So, if someone says “I dislike your premise because oranges are indeed oranges” is an okay statement to make and not bigotted.  Well, unless you want to talk about the orange at all but it didn’t seem as though there were anything discriminatory there like saying “I dislike your premise because oranges are indeed oranges and I hates them because they’re not apples.  And, btw, I don’t like you either because you’re an orange lover – orange lovers are EVIL.”

Now that we’ve got that all cleared up, let us have a frank discussion of a productive conversation of belief and/or ideals.  To immediately jump to a “well you’re a PERSON who worships oranges so what you say doesn’t have any validity” is a bigoted statement as well.  This way of categorizing simply to denigrate a person is quite unacceptable to me.  It lacks thought, understanding, and a simple acceptance of variations on a theme that humans represent.  Because so many people think that to be bigoted wholly relates to the concept of ethnicity this lambasting of ideals is not addressed as it should be – a piece of bigotry, prejudice and bias – never leading to a full intellectual discourse but instead enabling a crippling of understanding and, potentially, compassion.  Overwhelmingly, however, this word is most malevolently misunderstood by individuals who claim they’re against bigotry all while using separatist language.  So, let’s just not do that, ‘kay?

And that leads me to….  TAH DAH!  Hypocrite.  Oh, yeah – I’m so going there.

hyp·o·crite

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// ]]>hypocrite pronunciation /ˈhɪpəkrɪt/ Show Spelled[hip-uh-krit] Show IPA

–noun

1.

a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2.

a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

Origin:
1175–1225; ME ipocrite < OF < LL hypocrita < Gk hypokritḗs a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what he is not, equiv. to hypokrī́(nesthai) (see hypocrisy) + -tēs agent suffix

There are plenty of hypocrites out there but, again, the word gets bandied about without thought to how it applies to one’s self nor, seemingly, in a manner that actually fits the definition.  Admittedly this word also made the cut because someone actually called me this and, heaven help me, they actually used it incorrectly.  While I do get hurt when I’m called names (who doesn’t?) I get really cranky and righteous when what I got called actually doesn’t apply.  Call me righteous (see how well I can own that?), call me stubborn (*raises hand*), hell – even call me a hypocrite but for the love of Pete at least do it when/if it applies!

Because I am apparently in a fruity mood I’m going to go back to the land of oranges and apples for this one.

Ex. 1.  “All oranges have to walk on the right side of the road facing oncoming traffic.  Apples can do whatever they darn well choose.  This applies to everyone.  Well, except that orange because they’re not really an orange (yes, they are).  But, remember, this applies to ALL ORANGES.”

Ex.2.  Publicly someone says:  “All apples are to be protected and revered.  No longer will they rest upon the plates of the many, but allowed to roam freely, unhindered by anything more malevolent than a root above the ground inhibiting their roll down a hill.”  And that same pro-apple person goes home, rubs their hands together gleefully, and takes a nice big bite out of a beautiful Gala apple.  AND THEY LIKE IT.  (Okay, the liking has nothing to do with being a hypocrite but I’m an author so I like to be wordy sometimes.)

Thanks for partaking of my little rant, today, dear reader.  What word use/misuse annoys you the most?

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3 responses to “A word rant…

  • Chris D.

    I dislike when I’m corrected for saying “anyways.” It’s a word and it’s in the dictionary. Suck it.

  • Dawn Spatta

    Excellent!

    I had a bigotted boyfriend (okay it wasn’t immediately obvious) who once asked me for a dollar and I said “What do you think I am, German??” He looked at me, blinked a few times and responded “That makes no sense”. We didn’t last long after that. Maybe this story doesn’t immediately apply but where else can I share it? ;p

    Our grandparent’s generation come from a world where it is almost expected to be a little racist. The following generations think themselves a little more enlightened – and perhaps they are – but we have a long way to go. Thanks for addressing bigotry that goes far beyond race. Thanks to facebook I can be amazed at all the name calling among “friends”. Hmf.

    My word misuse peeve? Misusing phrases, misspelling words. People don’t even try. I love words. Words are good. People should be nicer to them. 🙂

    BOY am I all over the place!

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