The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

Don’t Let One Slip!

Careless profanity discredits our generation.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” 


Over said and forever etched into my brain, this saying places our words in a category deemed unimportant. In reality, our words hold immense weight, often completely shifting social structures, the dynamics of our relationships, and even broader cultural narratives. Unlike physical harm, our words inflict scars that will never be visible on the surface, making it crucial to realize the power of language and the responsibility that comes with wielding it. 

In the realm of language as a whole, profanity has been regarded as a “linguistic taboo.” Recognizing the potential consequences and the weight our world holds, especially when used when conversing, is key in navigating a delicate and deliberate balance between authenticity and professionalism. We can connect with others through language, or erect barriers, either fostering understanding or perpetuating division. 

We must approach profanity mindfully, refraining from throwing curse words around like verbal confetti. Instead, employing profanity in moderation is key to understanding its impact on communication and fostering meaningful yet respectful dialogue.

Often, I do my homework in public spaces, motivating me to manage my time efficiently and effectively. Coffee shops and cafes are my prime study spots, and they are often littered with people of all ages, from rowdy preteens to college students typing furiously on their Macbooks to elderly couples simply enjoying a fresh cup of coffee. I don’t turn a blind eye to the stares and whispers fellow teens receive when letting out a plethora of profanities, mindlessly rambling about how fed up they are with a class or classmate. 

Over time, profanity has had a complex relationship with both social acceptance and etiquette, with some curse words becoming more normalized in everyday conversation and popular culture. This evolution of acceptance, known as “lexical diffusion” according to Cambridge University Press, illustrates that language is dynamic, and societal attitudes toward certain controversial words change with cultural shifts. 

Now, I’m not exempt from this widespread phenomenon, occasionally when stressed, angry, or annoyed slipping a few profanities here and there. Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of indulging in the use of strong language from time to time, which is seemingly inevitable. However, it’s essential to consider the context and audience in the environment in which you express these thoughts. 

In spending most of my time in classrooms surrounded by peers who often have differing opinions from my own, I’ve learned and valued the necessity of discernment, recognizing that not every thought, (or in this case, curse word) warrants immediate expression. Prioritizing how to choose your words carefully and deliberately is key, especially in professional settings, as the use of profanity is often perceived as hindering your credibility and reputation as a whole. 

Additionally, The American Academy of Pediatrics highlights concerns about the exposure of children to profanity, suggesting a potential link to “increased aggression and emotional desensitization.” Striking a balance between freedom of expression and maintaining social etiquette suddenly becomes even more complex, especially in environments where decorum is valued and upheld such as the workplace or classroom. 

However, choice of language, including profanity,  and its use depends on ethnicities, social class, context, gender, and age (Baron, 2005). Additionally, race often determines a person’s socioeconomic status. (U.S. Censes Bureau, 2009). Increased use of profanity in a lower social class doesn’t inherently reflect low intelligence but rather mirrors cultural norms and linguistic practices within a specific community. Overgeneralizing and labeling profanity as crude or obscene subtly implies stereotypical judgements that disproportionately affect minorities in terms of their intellectual capacity.. Diversity of linguistic expression amongst different groups of people does not have to reinforce certain stigmas if you recognize that intellect and profanity use do not go hand in hand. 

  While over time profanity has evolved in acceptance, the importance of thoughtful consideration remains as relevant as ever. By wielding profanity judiciously and understanding our audience, we not only preserve the authenticity of expression, but contribute to more meaningful conversations. Although letting out an occasional swear after stubbing your toe or looking at an updated chemistry grade doesn’t undermine your intellectual capabilities in any capacity, be mindful of whom you might be sharing these strong contributions to.

Sticks and stones may break my bones..

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About the Contributor
Yasmeen Ford, Staff Writer
Hi, I'm Yasmeen, I'm a sophmore and this is my first year in Journalism. In my free time I like to read, listen to music, paint and cook various types of cuisines. I'm looking forward to shedding some light onto topics I'm passionate about and meeting new people in Journalism.

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