Language is way more powerful than we realize. We use words as a foundational way to communicate on a daily basis. Words can be a beautiful thing and have the ability to spread a lot of positivity and happiness in our world.
But, they can also be damaging. They can offend people and hurt them. Words can completely denigrate someone's religion, someone's race, someone's ethnic background, someone's sexual orientation, or even someone's personal identity. I think it's really important to talk about derogatory language, especially in a society that gets bashed for including individuals that get "offended easily."
First, I want to make something clear. I 100% agree there are extremists that take things way too far. I do think there are things that are said or done that people shouldn't take too much to heart. I think there are times people just need to brush it off their shoulders and let it go (To give an example, I'm referring to the "Baby It's Cold Outside" ordeal as well as the push to exterminate the term "man" from the English language. Yeah, that's a little extreme, in my opinion).
However, I'm not referring to these rather extreme and ridiculous cases. Instead, I'm referring to blatant, emphatic disrespect, specifically towards marginalized groups of people, such as people of color, members of the LGBT community, immigrants, and essentially, any group that does not fit the category of a straight white male.
Let me break this down even further. The n-word, let's say, is rooted back into times of slavery. It is derived from a time African Americans were literally forced out of their homelands and dehumanized by white people to work for them. Today, it is still a word of a lot of controversies, particularly the use of the word with an "a" at the end instead of "-er."
A non-black person does NOT get to tell a black person the use of that word with an "a" at the end is not offensive, or that they shouldn't be offended through the use of that word. Why? Because white people are NOT black. We do not have a place or say to decide what words rooted in so much hate and degradation are offensive towards those groups of people. It is a word I have come to truly despise over the years, and personally, wish no one would use it ever.
Let's look at something else. The word f***** is a disparaging term often used to discriminate against the LGBT community. Coming from a male that identifies with that community, I can tell you how offensive that word is. It is another word rooted in hate. It is rooted in intolerance, in prejudice, and in bigotry. People are still getting killed every single day because of their sexual identity, and that word is the emblem of their abuse and murder. If you are straight, do not tell me it's not offensive.
Because you're not the one that has to deal with the ongoing scrutiny by society. You're not the one that has to endure the struggles we have to. You're not in our position, so you'll never be able to fully understand. So, educate yourselves, and learn to empathize.
Derogatory language is of course not limited to just people of different races or sexual orientations. Our (well, not if you even want to consider him "our") President Donald Trump has been the talk of offending people since before the 2016 presidential election. He is known for slandering women, calling Mexicans criminals, and tearing apart immigrant families. Mike Pence, our very own Vice President, believes in conversion therapy and advocates against gay marriage.
Don't you see? Don't you see the effect words can have on people? Don't you see how they can reflect hatred and spread toxic elements throughout our society? When people are offended by words or make a big deal out of them, it's not just "snowflake liberals" being oversensitive. They are actual human beings with a sense of moral character and a proper sense of virtues. Learn the difference.