When I was a kid in the streets in the South Bronx, my parents, said, as my younger brother and I went out to play, that, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”
I learned as a child that’s not quite right.
Words really do matter.
There are anti-Semitic and racial and ethnic slurs, sexist remarks, that hurt terribly, and the act of the uncorrected utterance prompts others to mimic this brutal speech.
Worse, not only is it false that the words will “never hurt you,” but that broken bones, injury and death, may come along with the words that we were wrongly told as youngsters could “never hurt you. “
We had “Charlottesville,” where one woman was killed and 19 injured while white supremacists marched through this once serene and collegial university town.
White supremacists, carrying lit torches, chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”
Jefferson wrote of equality in our revolutionary declaration of independence, and George Washington assured a Jewish Congregation that in America, religious tolerance would give way to religious freedom, and, drawing upon scripture, added, “Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” Continue reading