I came across Mr. Navarrette’s article Stop Using the W-Word when I was searching for items of interest to blog about. I didn’t know what the “w-word” in this title was referring to until I read the article. To my surprise, the “w-word” was THE w-word. For most, the w-word is not very common as we live in an area where the Latino population is low unless you live in or near Mexicantown. But the same cannot be said for states like Arizona, California, and Texas, which have the highest population of individuals of Mexican descent. As a Mexican-American woman, I am very familiar with this word and fully understand its meaning. It affects me in the same manner the n-word would affect an African American. I know for a fact, based on my experience, that most individuals would think twice before using the n-word especially in front of someone of African American descent. So why would individuals think it would be okay to use this word? According to this article, a reason could be because Mexican-Americans have not undergone the same cruelty as the African Americans did. Really? I beg to differ. Mexican-Americans are a minority and as we all know all minorities in the USA whether they be gay, female, Asian, African American, Mexican, etc. have undergone some sort of cruelty and inequality. Derogatory words that are used for a specific group are used to belittle and insult the person or group. These words are what I consider fighting words. If you use them, you better get ready to rumble because all heck is going to break loose. If someone was to use their fists to assault someone they would be breaking the law. But, if someone used these words, their actions would go unpunished unless they were on a public platform such as the Congressman referred to in this article. These derogatory words can emotionally assault someone. They are like punches that leave (emotional) marks that may be invisible to the eye. But, just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I was always taught to respect others and if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I should keep my mouth closed. By the looks of it, some like the Congressman were not taught these same lessons. I would be able to forgive someone for this error if he/she was ignorant; it was a one time occurrence and learned to never do it again. But after multiple occurrences, I would start to wonder their true intentions.
People may roll their eyes when they need to use “politically correct” words/terms but it is something that is necessary in order for everyone to feel respected. People talk about world peace but imagine what the world or our country would be like if we all respected one another. We don’t all have to love or even understand one another but we do have to respect each other and our differences.