Monthly Archives: July 2015

who decides this shit?: a classroom discussion re: profane language

I am a cursing teacher.  Hell, I’m a cursing colleague, friend, and sister, too. I curse, often.  Not because my vocabulary is weak, or I am angry and/or sad.  I curse because profane words are linguistic expressions that make up my human language.  It’s as simple as that.

Words are neither bad nor good–unless you are a Christian who believes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  Then, the Word is good, right?  ‘Cause God is good all the time?  If that is true, then curse words are  bad, ’cause, historically, cursing was disrespectful to God and all things holy.  I can respect that idea, but the question–which one of my students raised during our discussion on perception–still remains. Who decides what words are profane?

With that question in mind–which I cannot answer except for crediting the overzealous (White, male) Christian–I charged my students with creating a list of words that they believe were just as profane and vulgar as traditional curse words.  What words, I asked, made them wince and cringe when they heard it?  What words do they, themselves, refuse to utter?

Their submissions are below:

thot; dookie, doo doo, (which seems to be a popular “curse” word amongst Black people, despite the 2 Live Crew’s 1992, “Doo Doo Brown”); puke, vomit; luv; mucus; ca ca, turd, poopie; cunt; douchebag; kill; blood; war; dummy; bastard; jackass; pee pee; toot; crap, suck; jack-off; cum; moist; faggot; loser; blumpkin; blue waffle; guzzler; maggots; pus; ooze; yeast; and pussycat.

(I must admit, I am surprised that in this class of predominantly Black students, not one submitted the term “nigger.”)

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