Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 19, 2013

HAMILTON: Are we to be tinkled or tickled by each other?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — In Legend’s case, her words were interpreted in the context of a common culture, and within a common sex and gender. For some reason, in this arena of so-called equality, there are some things that some people can say to others will be interpreted as meant, but only if it is said within the confines of commonality, such as was with Legend’s expression of disappointment. But if said by others who are not like the recipient, then it is likely interpreted as offensive, even if that was not the intention of the speaker.

Gazette photographer Dan Cappellazzo says that his parents came to America “fresh off the boat.” He says that he is about as Italian as they come, and he has heard all of the Italian slurs imaginable bandied about the dinner tables of his life. “But,“ he said, “if someone who isn’t Italian says those same words, then a lot of Italians would get ‘pissed’ off.’ “

And so it is with every ethnicity, race, sex, gender or other kind of group; and I doubt if their anger is based so much upon the words that are said, but more upon the insecurities of those hearing them, regardless of what the interpretation or the intention might have been.

When we are secure enough with ourselves, then, as Legend is soon likely to learn, “sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will ever hurt us.”

That is, not unless we are already hurting ourselves.

Even if we are brothers or sisters keepers, we can only be held accountable for what we do, but not for how they think. After all, actions supposedly speak louder than words, as Legend’s sandy hair attested to in both the receiving and the lathering of the sand from her head.

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