‘Miss Robinson’ went the extra mile
October 6, 2018
Yet another coach
October 6, 2018

What the children hear…

Is it just me or are there others who share the opinion that the use of obscene language has become so common place that we hear it being used regularly in verbal communication all the time?

Don’t get me wrong, it is something that has always been there, but to me, there has been an increase in its use and now it seems that for some people, conversations must be punctuated by a few ‘cuss words’ regardless of where they are.

While viewing the Emmy Awards on television recently, I was truly taken aback when, in her acceptance speech, actress Regina King uttered the ‘F’ word loudly and clearly. I mean, it’s Hollywood yes, but is there no regard for time and place? She is an actress I admire so I guess that fuelled my disappointment.

I am also aware that there are many movies and popular television series being aired, even in prime time where obscenities are used. One excuse is that it is for “emphasis and reality” and another is “That is how we talk!”. It does not matter that children are also viewers.

I know the argument will be put forward, “The children are hearing that all the time!”. Yes, granted, but how do we impress upon them that it is not right? Difficult indeed, because in many homes, on the street, ‘liming’ on the block, in the schools even, we hear it all the time. The use of obscene language is common place.

An opinion was put forward that it is because the users are probably limited in their vocabulary, so the cuss words are used as parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives…. Others are questioning, “What is the big thing? Everybody doing it.” But as the old saying goes, “Majority does not mean morally right!”.

Long ago when adults in the community walked by, respect was shown by persons curbing their tongues. Now, it does not matter. I encountered a group of girls in school uniform looking at another girl over the road and saying uncomplimentary things about her in language I can only describe as vile.

I looked at them and said, “Why is such ugly language coming out from such beautiful mouths?” A couple of them covered their mouths in shame, but the rest? Let us just say I might have escaped a good ‘cussing’ myself! Their looks said it all. It is really hard for me to take.

Let me share what I could take. One morning I entered my infant (five year olds) classroom to the chorus, “Miss, Hezie use a bad word!”. Further questioning revealed that the bad word was ‘cocolocs’.

I asked, “Is that a bad word?”  The chorus continued, “Yes Miss, a dirty word.” One university potential looked at me and said, “Miss, coco is something you pick from a tree and suck the seeds. It is not a bad word.” A PhD potential exclaimed, “But when you add ‘locs’ to it, is a bad word!”

On another occasion one was accused of cursing by showing the middle finger. His defence was, “That is not a ‘terse’. My Papa say that is not a ‘terse’.” (He had a lisp, hence ‘terse’ for ‘curse’). Innocence, until they grow older and because “everybody doing it” they fall in too.

Peer pressure, whether among infants, teenagers or adults is very real. Many succumb because of the desire to fit in instead of being considered a prude. The onus therefore is on us who think differently, to try to alter the mindset.