Swearing can be an addictive habit which people engage in mostly when they express strong emotions especially of anger or surprise. People swear knowingly or unknowingly. In many contexts, this habit people find this habit offensive, inappropriate, rude and embarrassing because it involves the use of taboo words that might be gender offensive. Thus, when addressing certain audiences one might cause tension and in extreme cases, disgust. Because this habit is offensive, and some consider it hate speech, it is increasingly important for people to desist from swearing and, instead they should find respectful ways to communicate their emotions.
It is wise for one to be silent or censor some words that might be deemed as offensive or hate speech. In almost every country governed democratically, there are laws meant to curb hate speech apart from a few countries e.g. the United States. In accordance with the United States Constitutionalists, laws against hate speech, restrict a free society from expression. However, freedom of free speech in America is what is left when a community is bent to continue with what it does and does not want to listen or embrace change. Every human should be dignified and respected despite their social or economic status and this should be considered as a responsibility of every person (Waldron, 2012).
Many fights that break in all places are as a result of an offensive word said to somebody intentionally or unintentionally. Others end up in unwanted places for swearing. For instance, one British Member of Parliament Andrew Mitchell met some police officers and after a confrontation insulted them and cursed words against them (Roache, 2017). The officers thought of arresting him but then didn’t. However, people have been arrested severally for swearing at the police and others being tortured even contrary to the constitution for “bad language” (Roache, 2017). Thus as Hale & Basides puts it, one can at some degree control other persons by censoring the choice of words.
Everyone will try to come up with a defence mechanism against anything that seemingly cause them harm either physically or psychologically. Therefore, when one uses offensive words, swearing words or curses at someone, the reaction from the victim often range from anger to violence. According to Timothy Jay, Offensive words or swearing should not be considered harmful to people even by the law (Jay, 2009). He claims that just because someone used perverse words to a lady it does not mean the person literally abused the lady sexually (Jay, 2009). However, despite the belief that swearing can be used as a substitute for physical confrontation, it is equally malicious and even at some degree even worse. The effects that are left in the mind of a victim of verbal sexual harassment, affect her self-esteem and might negatively influence her productivity. When one receives an offensive telephone call filled with threats, picking up telephone calls from unknown numbers will be dreaded thence.
The effects of swearing words and generally offensive words were known even traditionally. This is evident because there were numerous words that were considered taboos and basically restricted from being used. For instance criticism and swearing at monarchs and heads of state was severely punished (Allan & Burridge, 2006). Everyone was expected to censor their language into acceptable words by the authority in subject. Shakespeare’s Richard II (Act IV.i) was edited out from the 1st and the 2nd part (Allan & Burridge, 2006). The claims raised against it was that it was believed to symbolise the birth of a rebellion led by Robert Devereux against the government; thus leading to his execution (Allan & Burridge, 2006). It is in this way evident that someone words often portray respect or disrespect and will mostly determine how people will treat you back. Wise and polite words that do not aggravate anger or violence even amidst a misunderstanding show one’s ability to control self and thus many people will give back respect in return.
Many people have been injured in physical confrontations or in extreme cases lost their lives because of their choice of words. The more children are exposed to profane language and a lot of swear words the more they become aggressive. Violence in sports too is caused by curse words that are hauled to a fellow player in a provocative way. Sports, however, should be peaceful, friendly and safe for all the players. If every player should withhold any word that might be considered as offensive or hate speech by a fellow player, there would be no violence in our sports despite the offence in the game. It is evident if language and choice of words is controlled, one can control self and more so, control other people around.
In conclusion, the government should introduce studies against swearing and perverse words in colleges and universities as a method of curbing hate speech and verbal abuses in the society. In court, hate speech and verbal disrespect should be considered as a psychological abuse. Public swearing and hate speech by politicians and other persons of influence should be more seriously regarded by the law. Every person should be cautious before using any swearing word in the presence of children. Using such a language would mean exposing them to a nature of being aggressive and irrational in their choice of words. It is evident that violence will mostly result from offensive words used in between a confrontation, hence, it is wise for someone to walk away from arguments whose words have turned bitter to avoid physical aggression. The government also is tasked to restrict the production of some video games that are programmed to use swearing and cursing words. These have become the main exposure ground of inappropriate language to children and teenagers. Swearing in schools, institutions and in offices should be punishable and further warning of vulgar language issued against the offender. Considering these interventions we shall have a better society upholding ethics in language and more so, less violence.
Allan, K., & Burridge, K. (2009). Forbidden words: Taboo and the censoring of language. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Jay, T. (2009). Do offensive words harm people? Psychology, public policy, and law, 15(2),
Roache, R. (2017, May 03). Where does swearing get its power – and how should we use it? – Rebecca Roache | Aeon Essays. Retrieved from https://aeon.co/essays/where-does-swearing-get-its-power-and-how-should-we-use-it
Waldron, J. (2012). The harm in hate speech. Harvard University