Spoken in hushed tones in the privacy of homes, there are words that are being uttered in America that are considered to be some of the most dangerous that can be vocalized in our society.
These words are so incredibly offensive that upon hearing them, people have been known to freak out beyond reason. We have been told to fear these words and to never say them for fear of endangering the status quo and creating conflict in our fragile society.
These words: “Merry Christmas.”
Living in the society we do, Americans seem to be scared to death of offending anyone. We dodge around the things that we mean, we bow and scrape to social convention to maintain a façade of having no prejudice or misgivings. We find ways to avoid saying the things we mean in order to better serve the people around us and avoid offense.
I have often heard people say that they wish there was an end to racism, to sexism and pretty much any other –ism. This is a great thought, something that I truly believe that, as a society, we should be striving for together. Consider this, though: isn’t avoiding talking about these “faux pas” subjects causing more racism to exist and proliferate our society?
Instead of saying “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Hanukkah,” we say Happy Holidays. Instead of describing someone’s physical appearance by race or gender we skirt around the description to avoid offending anyone. Don’t get me wrong, in some cases I believe that this politically correct way of speaking is necessary. However, we don’t need to go to such extremes.
As a society it is possible to find a balance that creates a safety in our society where there isn’t hateful speech, but there also isn’t an ever present danger of offending someone by speaking your mind.
We are so fake as a society that we seem to have forgotten what we truly believe in. Why is it so wrong to wish someone a Merry Christmas, or whatever your holiday equivalent is that you celebrate?
The answer is simple, we are so worried that we will offend a single person that we make rules for society that don’t need to exist. Is anyone truly offended if they are wished a happy holiday that they don’t believe in?
I know I’m not. It is the sentiment that truly counts. The fact that we can wish one another a happy season is all that really matters. Get off your high horse. Sure, you aren’t someone who follows the certain beliefs that others do, but you don’t need to get angry at them for being kind and going out of their way to be kind.
The only way that we will ever be able to get over the curse of the “–isms” is to make it so that the words that we fear so much have no power. Now I’m not saying go out and start saying the words should be feared, the words that are only referred to by their first letter. There are still words that have a horrible history that should never be spoken. These words are the “N-word,” the “F-word,” and the word that is used to refer to homosexuals that starts with the letter “F.”
If you use these words and don’t understand what their meaning is, look it up. Look up the history of the words you are using and educate yourself. While the “F-word” does not have as bad of a history as the other two, consider what you sound like in saying them. These words are unintelligent and speaking in this manner brings down all of society.
What I am suggesting is that everyone loosen up just a little. Consider that instead of getting offended right away you think about what the person is trying to say and you appreciate their efforts in saying it.
I know that in today’s society considering someone else’s side is something that is, for some reason, unheard of. But at one point America was considered a melting pot, a place where all races, creeds and any variation of the human race could come and exist together. This nation was once a place of hope for anyone who had a dream of a better life.
Together, we can create a society that is more tolerant and all the better for it. So I’m going to wish you all a Merry Christmas because that is what I celebrate.
Isaac Morley is a sophomore Business and English Education double major. He celebrates Christmas and is tired of people saying Happy Holidays. He wants people to grow a spine. Follow him on Twitter @Isaac_Morley and write in with guest columns, opinions, and any form of response to letters@Collegian.com