Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you. Well, not physically anyway. Not unless they’re slurs intended only to psychologically abuse a target, when they often accompany acts of violence.
There are a number of words whose only use is to hurt. There are words that once meant something strong and proud but, through repeated historical misuse, have become tainted by every bit of hate and venom that has ever flowed through them in their use. There are words that might, to some people, serve as a mere descriptive, an adjective to be used in daily discourse, but to others inculcate a fear of the types of violence with which the word has so often been used in parallel.
And then, there are the concerted efforts to retake those words, to rebrand them.
Continue reading “Owning the slur”