Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Tue, Jan. 28

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words hurt, too

In this age of being politically correct there is still something that I often hear and see that I personally think is very hurtful. It does not matter what your race, religion or political ideals are, it still hurts.

Why is it OK to refer to people as stupid? I know we are all familiar with the "You can't fix stupid." I actually saw that on a license plate just yesterday. It got me to thinking. Even Forrest Gump said, "My Mama always said, stupid is as stupid does." There are many definitions for the word stupid in the dictionary. "Shows poor judgement, of little intelligence, slow of mind."

All of us human beings say and do things in our daily lives, that we wish we could take back. We know there is no age limit on making mistakes. I wonder when we became so judgmental about everything other people do.Things that come easy to us may be much more difficult for others. Seems each of us have skills that belong only to ourselves. It is not unusual to hear or see a person who is autistic or developmentally delayed in some way, but who can sit down at a piano and instantly know how to play it. They are often gifted in other ways.I believe they are sometimes called a sevant.

We seem to be so diverse in many other ways, yet we are still so divided at the same time. There are some people who throw the stupid word around very easily. If you do not agree with them on ANYTHING, you must be stupid! We used to call that a difference of opinion.

The stigma of being called stupid can actually stick with someone for their whole life. The damage it does to ones self esteem can often be life long. Depending on the age, and the person who is doing the name calling. Can you imagine for a minute if you are a parent, teacher or any other adult and you tell a child that he is stupid? It must feel like a major punch to the gut. Not everyone learns at the same pace, nor do they share the same abilities. I think all parents want their children to be at the head of the class, or on an honor roll. But, let's be honest here, not all kids can make it no matter how hard they may try. Not because they are stupid.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" This was something of a playground chant that most of us old folks remember. Not entirely true. Words can hurt.

Those with a history of domestic abuse will often use the word stupid, in order to take away any self esteem or self worth from those they abuse. What a powerful word it can be. Often doing more damage than those relating to how we look. Some who choose to control another will chip away at anything you do or say by simply telling you "You are just stupid!"

Who has not been accused of doing stupid stuff, at least once in their life? When it relates to family or friends we are much more likely to use a phrase to describe the behavior. We might say, "He isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, not the brightest bulb in the box." We also say, "She is one fry short of a happy meal, or "I think he may be half a bubble off." These little nuggets rarely have a lasting effect, and are often used when we talk about each other. No harm, no foul.

The opposite of smart is not stupid! It is just "not as smart." That is how it is in my dictionary, anyway. We have changed the way we look and act about so many things in today's world. We no longer say, handicapped, but we say challenged, or has a disability. We no longer say mixed race, but rather use the bi-racial term. We never say retarded, when developmentally delayed is so much kinder. Why then do we continue to call each other STUPID? It is hard to imagine that it is all the so called smart people who are saying it. Who of us is in a position to label anyone? Be a person who lifts the spirit of others. They often do the tearing down all by themselves..

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