By Brianna Willis, Assistant Features Editor
It is time we stop shaming women and men for things that they like. On top of that, let’s stop using words that pack a lot of hate, to describe something different or unsightly. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold it’s own merit. Just because something is underground and edgy, doesn’t mean it is always good. To each their own should be the theme this season, as we lay to rest terms like “basic” and the overabundance of jabs at women who like pumpkin spice. Just because you’re wearing hoop earrings and Baby Phat doesn’t mean you’re “ghetto.”
Don’t get me wrong; a good joke is a good joke. However, there is a thin line between making a joke with a friend and engaging in some banter, and actively hate-posting on the internet your pure disdain for people who like x,y and z. “Oh my gosh, that is so ratchet!” is not something you should be commenting when you’re friend wore her hair in cornrows for a party on Halloween. That means something, something you’re not even thinking about when you casually throw the word out because it has been popularized to do so.
I thought we left, “that’s so gay” in 2012, but apparently not. The use of “basic white girl”, “stop being retarded” or using “homelessness” as #aesthetic isn’t something that should be funny anymore. There are real people, who have identities that we use as something to describe a fashion trend or a popular coffee drink. Even I have been guilty of one if not all three of the above statements.
However, microaggressions are very real. The nonchalant attitude many people have regarding word choice is alarming. Just because something isn’t offensive to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t offensive to other people. Personally, when people call things ghetto and ratchet and think it’s cute and funny, it makes my blood boil. Usually, because this implication carries a racial weight that I will write on another time.
This column isn’t here to beat you, or myself, up. We all make mistakes, we’ve all made statements in passing that we didn’t think twice about. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, but it is okay. A favorite professor of mine used to say, “There are things you know, things you don’t know and things you don’t know you don’t know.” Many of us don’t know how it may feel to hear our identity used as an insult, so how would you know to stop using it?
This season, as Halloween party pictures start flooding in and Homecoming posts start increasing, be mindful of your comments, be mindful of the words you use with each other. With so much hate in the world, let’s educate ourselves on our thoughts and our words and try and make every interaction we have a positive and healthy one. Enjoy your pumpkin spice latte – if you don’t want to dress up? Don’t. You’re a boy who likes romantic comedies and getting a manicure? Great! Let’s just not use identities to describe these things.