Our character 

In this home a person’s character is top priority for who we choose to have in our lives. Your character is in the heart of you. Your character is who you love. Your character is why you stand up for justice. Your character gives you the integrity to stand up against injustice. Your character is on the inside but is is reflected in action and the words that come from your mouth. That is what character means in my family. It is not the same in other families. I do not judge others for their lack of character I simply choose to not have them in my life. 

Even those with minimal character can still have some redeeming qualities. BUT some things I choose to be deal breakers in my circle of friends and family. My daughter is the same. I will talk about those and some other words that I feel should and should not be spoken. 

This topic came up tonight as one of her friends posted a video using the word “nigger”. Now I could say the “N-word”. But that makes it seem lesser of an evil than it really is. It’s kind of like saying he “inappropriately touched me” or he “sexually assaulted me” when really he raped me. But rape is a hard word to say and a hard word to hear. But it should be said in the context that we need, so as not to become immune to the harshness of what it means. Neither should we become immune to words like “nigger” or “faggot”. I put them in parenthesis because I would never say them. But in this video I watched of my daughter’s friend it was used like the word butter or cloud. It is derogatory and it is said in a demeaning way every time I have ever heard either “nigger” or “faggot” used to put down a race, gender, or stated as a deep insult. 

I lived with an African American man for a year. I heard a few of his friends say the word on occasion to each other in a friendship/buddy manner and I thought nothing of it. Very infrequently did I hear this term and I was around a group of African American men, a large group, for an entire year. We had the discussion of the word, me being the only Caucasian there, asking how they felt about it being used by others outside of their race. I won’t share our personal conversations because they were private thoughts but I learned a lot about how words can be used to demean and hurt intentionally. I learned how words can be spears and how they can incite violence if said in a certain context. We talked a lot about words that night. We talked about the word rape too. We talked about the word “faggot”. Some of those there were homosexual. We decided amongst ourselves that there are words that show be spoken and build your character and words that prove the lack thereof. 

1/2 of my family is Jewish. One of my neighbors kids said that she was sorry that my family was “going to hell”. One of the neighbor’s kids also did not want to be friend’s with my daughter anymore if she continued to have a lesbian friend. 

We chose to no longer have those kids in our or our daughter’s life. My daughter chose that as well. She also will choose to not have the friend who uses the word “nigger” to put down a race, as a friend either. They may choose to say it. We will choose to not be around it. Whatever character values are taught in those families do not match ours. 

Now the neighbor’s kid thinks she has high morals and character in choosing to not be friends with a person who likes a lesbian. Her idea of good character is not the same as ours. The other who thinks my family will go to hell thinks they have good character. They know what is right, we are wrong, we are going to hell, we have bad character. End of story. That is what they think. They think their character is better than ours. So character is an interesting topic isn’t it. 

To me, it is more of a matter of judgment. Judgment and character go hand and hand. I may not believe what someone else believes but I will not put them down for it. If that child chose to not be friends with us because our family was going to hell, that would be her choice but to condemn us with her nasty words…not high character in my eyes. For her to judge us, not good character in my eyes, nor did my ears think so. 

I don’t choose to dislike a person because of your religious choice, your gender choice, your feelings about God, your sexual preference. I will choose to not have you in my life if you put another person down for their beliefs by using words and actions that are hurtful. Or put me down for mine. 

I have had friends of all race, religion, sexuality and even asexuality. I have had a friend that was transgender and a friend that was an atheist, etc. I don’t choose my friends based on their size, weight, color, gender preference, or who they worship. Infact, that has no bearing whatsoever on who my friends are. It never has had bearing. I choose my friends based on their character. Based on if their character and my character are both based on non-judgment of differences and a priority of honesty and integrity. I love to be able to sit with a friend and discuss hard subjects even if we differ completely and come out of the discussion thinking of their opinion of the topic with no anger or hate involved. Just look at social medial for a day. I see not Republican or Democrat. Mostly I see lack of character. 

I tried to find a meme or a picture that said how vile the words “nigger and faggot” are as the people who I have heard use them, put themselves up on a righteous platform while looking down on what they think is lesser. All I found were memes supporting the words’ usage. 

I know hate. I have felt hatred. I have hated pedophiles. I have hated rapists. I have hated those who stand up for and behind rapists and pedophiles. And I hate the words “nigger and faggot”as I have used them through this blog post. I hate to hear them because they are used rooted in hatred of a human being for the color of their skin or their choice of sexuality. I mean, if you are going to hate, why not channel that hatred to the injustices of the world? 

In my family we welcome friends of any ethnicity, gender, etc, and we do not discriminate against those choices as I said already. 

We talk about words used in hate and words used to educate in our family.

There are so many words used in hate which are said to intentionally hurt. I don’t choose to have those people in my life. If you think my family is going to hell, just keep it to yourself! If you don’t like my daughter having a friend who is asexual, keep it to yourself. If you don’t like my transgender friend, keep it to yourself. Or choose not to be friends with me, that is ok. That is your choice. Telling me my family is going to hell and assuming we will still be friends is almost laughable. But so is not allowing me to talk about the fact that I was sexually abused. Words are powerful. Our voice is powerful. It should be used wisely I will say again and again.

There are other words that need to be used to educate and I choose to educate rather than listen to those who use words in steeped in hatred. 

Rape. No one wants to hear about it. Sexual abuse. No one wants to hear about it. The hate words can slide right off the tongue but the words that really need to be spoken and heard are shushed. They shouldn’t be. Hearing my mother’s husband say that no one wanted to hear the grisly details of my abuse will forever stick with me. Because he stood for the majority. He is the reason why women and children and boys do not speak about rape. Someone can say the word “nigger” and it can either be ignored or it can trigger rage in someone like me. Yet the word rape is used and it has a reaction of…nothing. No gasp. No justice. Just shhhhhh. 

The word rape should cause the same kind of hatred toward pedophiles as the word “faggot” causes a person like me to be disgusted vehemently against the person using such derogatory statements. 

Some words should never be used. 

Some words should be used. 

Some words show a part of a person’s character that I choose to not share my inner circle with.

Some words show a strength and courage that I embrace. 

Character is inside but it is shown in the actions and words of the person. 

My family has a certain definition of the character in people that we look for. Other families have other characteristics they look for. 

I just found myself pondering these words and wanted to write a blog on them. I will not apologize for my beliefs even if they differ from others. It is ok to be different. It is not ok to attack someone’s character because of those differences. 

Words matter. 

Use them to educate. 

8 thoughts on “Our character 

  1. This is a beautiful post about an ugly reality, Bethany. It reminds me of a quote by Miguel Angel Ruiz:

    “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

    These are beautiful words he uses. Your article spoke to me of the exact same truths. I’m happy to hear that your daughter is being raised to regulate her thoughts, choose her words, and to make wise decisions based on these truths.

    Liked by 1 person

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