Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Everyone in elementary school knew me as “Eckel the elephant.” I was short and fat, or, as was acceptable to say in those days, I was considered “stocky.” Before I grew six inches one summer, I was a roly-poly kid who couldn’t climb a rope in gym class to save his life. The fact that I remember how I felt decades ago gives credence to the fact that name-calling hurts. Sticks and stones do break bones and words will always hurt people.
But I would like to suggest that the act of name-calling has not stopped. It continues in adulthood. When you call someone “narrowminded,” “a terrorist,” or a “bigot,” for instance, you are saying more about yourself than the person you wish to debase. To describe another person and their perspective in negative terms only does two things: it alienates you from the other person and displays your true character.
Take the word “bigot,” for instance. The word itself is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs, who does not like other people who have different beliefs.” Or take the definition from Merriam-Webster. A bigot is “a person who is intolerantly devoted to her prejudices and treats members of other groups with hatred and intolerance.” So, when you call someone a “bigot,” who is the “bigot”?