People are Stupid. Love, Mom

Rodin at The Met

Every home, every family unit, has their own rules–what’s out of bounds to say or do, particularly when there are children in that unit.  For us, the absolute no-go was stupid. We never used the word to or about our kids, nope, not even kidding around, and there was a no-tolerance policy regarding them using the word about themselves, each other, or anyone else.

You won’t be surprised to learn that in our home, cursing (English, Spanish, or sorry to say, Spanglish) was not automatically against the rules. Yes, we wanted them to understand some words (ie, curse words) were offensive to some people, and wholly inappropriate in some settings, but we never pretended shock or offense on our own behalf.  Everyone’s got their own things, right? We were also ok with movies or video games that had some cursing/sexy scenes (no, I’m not talking about when they were toddlers here), but graphic violence was out. I don’t know if he remembers, but at the age of six my oldest, already reasonably well versed in museums and the nude art to be found on display, was traumatized when he was at a friend’s house and they had a sculpture from this biblical scene:

Judith with the Head of Holofernes, ca. 1530, Cranach

So, we tried to teach the kids that words are powerful and important, to be explored yet respected, but violence and harm to others was never, ever ok. For whatever reason, the idea that certain words were not to be used in certain settings, or in front of certain people, was more easily learned for the English curses than the Spanish ones. I may have told the following story before, if so and you’ve read it, sorry, I’ve been running Mrs Fringe a long time.

When Art Child was five, we experienced her first hospitalization, and after approximately 8,000,000 days in the PICU, she was doing much better and the team was deciding whether she could be discharged or sent to a step-down room. Her main nurse argued with the resident on the unit not to remove her IV yet in case bloodwork was needed for the decision (if you’re unfamiliar with this stuff, if the IV is in place they don’t have to do another “stick”, they can draw blood right from it), the resident insisted she remove the IV. Needless to say after it was removed the team said one last blood draw was required. I was pissed, the nurse was pissed. The resident said she’d do the draw herself so we didn’t have to wait for the phlebotomy team, and the girl was furious. She was a passionate kiddo to begin with, very verbal, and so she cursed the resident. Resident chuckled, “it’s ok, you can call me a dodo head, I’ve been called worse.” Nice, right? She was trying to atone, but clearly confused by the fact that the (Latina) nurse and I weren’t chuckling, we were downright cracking up. Because the girl hadn’t called her a dodo head, she called her a toto head (see the earlier apology for my home’s Spanish/English mixing). Toto is Spanish slang for–so as not to offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities–girly bits.

She didn’t, however, call her stupid.

But, well, here we are, living in a time where misogyny, racial slurs and racist ideas/ideals are not only considered acceptable by the White House, but these ignorant slurs and ideas are being used to create racist policies. So no, the fact that our so-called President used the term shithole neither surprises nor offends me; but that it was used in reference to large swaths of the world, millions and millions of people because they have brown or black skin, offends me greatly. He knows what he meant, his supporters know what he meant. That shit isn’t a dog whistle it’s a shrieking tornado alarm, heard across the world.  This isn’t cursing, this is verbal violence.

His millions of supporters? And if you’re one who hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon to use slurs yourself, but are remaining silent, shrugging it off, you’re one of them–are stupid. Not merely stupid for spouting, believing, and/or accepting ignorant nonsense, but stupid because odds are you’re next. He didn’t say, “why can’t we have more immigrants from China, from Argentina, from Italy, from Israel, Japan, from Ireland, from Poland?” No. He said, “why can’t we have more immigrants from Norway?”  I haven’t met too many people from Norway and I’ve never been. The few I have met were only here temporarily for work or on vacation. I’m sure they’re a lovely people across the board, god knows I’d love their health care and if I had their social safety net I wouldn’t want to emigrate anywhere else, either. Norway. Whiter than white. Think about that, and think about who and how many ethnic groups are not part of that Aryan wet dream. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, if you’re American, odds are you/your ancestors are not all part of that purity test. I’ve been saying this for over two years now; it will not stop on it’s own. Ignorance feeds ignorance, and hatred feeds hatred. Once you say it’s ok to slander, take away rights, human dignity, to hate one group, it’s going to be ok to strip rights from the next group, and the next. And if you’re a woman, well, it doesn’t matter what your ethnic background is, if this continues unchecked and the GOP doesn’t find an actual ethics compass we’re fucked regardless.

For most of us, those of us born without millions of dollars at our disposal and/or the protection of aristocracy (real or implied) life is hard, and we face hardships that cannot be avoided. Some find their homes and communities lost to hurricanes or earthquakes, their life savings and opportunities stolen by corrupt officials, their loved ones and countries torn apart by wars, the victims of hundreds of years of systemic oppression; or some find themselves the victims of smaller, personal yet still devastating effects of catastrophic illness for themselves, or their children fighting incurable diseases, or an industry gone belly up so they can’t find a job that allows them to support themselves or their families, or the victims of random, violent crimes. These are the suck of life, things that are generally out of our control, yet we have the responsibilities inherent in figuring out how to make it through, or how to make it easier for our loved ones to make it through. But this? The position America is in now? This was in our control, and to some degree, it still is. This was a choice. A choice to make it harder, dangerous, impossible for millions and millions of human beings, a choice that purposefully ignored and distorted this concept of “other.”

So yeah, people aren’t just hateful, or racist, or toto heads. People are stupid.

6 comments

  1. Stupid is a no no word in my family, say silly instead, you do not call someone stupid they can be silly and do silly things but stupid is a hurtful word, my husband was called stupid a lot as a child and it scared him which is why he will not allow the word to be used.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband and I were talking the other day about this very subject, with all its nuances and inherent dangers. We decided that the population that accepts, repeats, and/or amplifies the kind of verbal assaults you’ve mentioned here fall along a kind of continuum, from the ignorant to the stupid to those who follow their own agendas.

    We can forgive the ignorant, because ignorant people don’t know what they don’t know. Knowledge might open their eyes; it may even change their minds. Stupid people we can not defend. Stupid people know this stuff is wrong and not just wrong: it is detrimental, perhaps even devastating, on so many levels. Stupid people hear only what they want to hear and believe only what they want to believe.

    We suspect fear and lack lurks in their minds and hearts of stupid people: fear of losing what they have or had. They want something that, for whatever reason, is out of their reach or perceived as such. They’re angry and frustrated and want somebody to blame. They’re looking for a way out, a savior. They’re clutching at straws and easily influenced but sometimes, those who promise to save them don’t care about them at all.

    These are the most dangerous people. These are the people who will say and do whatever it takes to get and/or keep whatever it is *they* value most highly; be it power, money, influence, or their own skins. Too many people in politics and government fall into this group, including the president of these United States,

    Sometimes, he’s the worst offender of all.

    Words matter. What we say–or don’t say–matters. What we accept–or refuse to accept–matters. What we value, what we are willing to lose, all of these things matter and all of these things make us who, and what, we are.

    Once again, I thank you for the platform and the sounding board, Mrs Fringe. ❤

    Like

    1. I think where you and your husband are is where I started, when we were faced with the possibility of this nightmare. By now, I’m done. I accept no more excuses. How many in this country live in purely white areas, have no interactions with immigrants, and whose own ancestors came on the Mayflower? I’m guessing very, very, few. Certainly not enough to vote this hideousness into office, so we can put ignorance to the side. And when we look at the other angle, the stupid, it’s only a fraction of those who have lack as their excuse. While underemployment is a real issue and has been since the recession of 2007, unemployment has been low for several years; and a large percentage of those who voted red have no real lack, just greed and hatred, suspicion that they should/would have more if not for the dreaded others.

      Yes, words matter. Intent matters. And right now, the words and intent coming from Pennsylvania Ave are filled with malice.

      Thank you, kk, as always. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs F.– I offer explanation, not excuses. There are no excuses,

        I do want to amend one thing, though. Upon further consideration, I think the stupid folk in the country are the most dangerous, because they’re the ones who accept 45’s spewing vitriol as fact, as well as permission. They’re the ones who watch FOX news and cheer at his hate rallies. They’re the ones who further this nightmare by remaining silent as this president destroys and dismantles, or amplify his message with their voices, and their votes.

        By the way, You’re welcome. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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