Skip to content

My Thoughts On Chicago Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw Faggot Remark

April 20, 2016

When angry why use the word faggot?

Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Andrew Shaw has been suspended for one game after using a homophobic slur twice during last night’s game.  He stated that “emotions got the best” of him.  Yet when I am miffed I do resort to sexual bricks.

So what might we ponder tonight concerning this matter?

In a friendly back-and-forth on Facebook I challenged someone to justify using the term “sissifying” when speaking about how a football player/team was performing on the field to the use of the word ‘sissy’ that a child in school might use to taunt others.  How is one less corrosive than the other, and why is it better for an adult to speak in such ways as opposed to a kid?  And do not kids learn from watching and listening to how adults act?

If the argument is that words should be allowed no matter what than we still would, as a society, see no problem with using ‘nigger’, ‘coon’ ‘half-breed’, and “jap’ in our daily conversations.  Clearly those words are no longer acceptable anywhere, and rightly so.  But if those words are deemed wrong how can it take such a leap to understand that using words such as ‘faggot’ is also wrong.

Everyday people use words wisely, and so I have to laugh when I sometimes hear that someone is ‘unable to speak freely’ as there are too many rules about needing to use politically-correct speech.  That is just a cop-out for acting with civility in modern-day society.

In the lunchroom at the average workplace no one starts up a conversation about the ‘hooters’ on the lady who sits at the front office desk.  No one can just get on a plane and say they are carrying a bomb and think such word choice is allowed, or walk into a theatre and cry “fire!”

Words have weight and if we are to live in a society where the hope of coming together is to exist at all we need to be aware of the impact of the words we use.    I use to speak before groups of constituents when working in the state assembly and was always aware of the audience I was in front of to push the right message by using the right words.

The use of words is key to everything we do.  Being an adult is knowing how to employ the best use of words.  It also means understanding the power our words carry for both good and bad.

One Comment leave one →
  1. tom permalink
    April 21, 2016 8:56 AM

    The problem is who does the “deeming.” Let me begin by saying that I find the word “faggot” to be inappropriate. The word “faggot” is a relatively meaningless word, much like “bitch” or some similar profanity. I am not offended by the word, but rather by the sentiment that I suspect lies behind it. I think this is an important difference.

    People who regularly find offense enjoy censoring the language of others, but their efforts always fall short of addressing the (perceived) sentiment behind the word itself. They believe they can shape society’s perception by controlling language. In your post, for example, you list certain words for minority groups that were once seemly, but are now unseemly. This failed game of tag goes on every time a group decides they are “offended” and we can only predict that the this seemly/unseemly cycle will continue forever. The terms which appear polite or seemly today will be the hallmarks of bigotry tomorrow. In the end we lose clarity and definition, but sentiment or connotation moves on to some other host. We make the foolish assumption that if we control language, we control sentiment. This is merely to cover the problem with meaningless words.

    Now,I do not suggest that the angry hockey player is using the unseemly term for clarity’s sake. I assume that in an emotional state he chose his language poorly. However, I am likewise suggesting that people are not offended by his words, but they are troubled or offended or whatever by the sentiment they believe lies behind them. They suspect he is a homophobe which he may or may not be. The problem here is that there is no way to address the sentiment behind the words if we cannot discuss the words themselves. We are like scientists who are studying a disease we constantly shoo from our microscopes. Simply chasing words is pointless and pedantic at best. At worst it breeds a tendency for censorship that runs contrary to critical thinking and good citizenship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: