No excuse for using homophobic language

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We all have moments when we hear our grandparents or even parents say something completely derogatory.

Usually in these moments, however, we neglect to correct them as their linguistic choices are a deeply embedded notion, reflective of the social and political climate they grew up in. The current generation of teenagers and young adults however, have no excuse for using the same type of offensive language.

A new website called nohomophobes.com, launched in July, tracks in real time the use of offensive language on Twitter. The four key phrases it picks up are “no homo,” “faggot,” “so gay” and “dyke.” It’s remarkable to watch as every second a new tweet refreshes with language most of us stopped using in grade school once we were educated about its implications and historical origins.

So far, the word “faggot” has been recorded in over 3 million tweets, demonstrating the casual distribution of homophobic attitudes in daily conversation.

Students of post-secondary institutions often become desensitized to the reality that not everybody is as liberal-minded or open as we are taught to be. If anything, the primary message this website sends is that indeed, there is still a long way to go in terms of handling homophobic attitudes in society.

The key to overcoming such discrimination is education. By teaching kids at a young age the historical reasoning behind offensive terms, people can better understand why they are derogatory and harmful.

While Canadians pride themselves on being a progressively liberal society, maybe we aren’t quite as accepting as we give ourselves credit for. With the Amanda Todd suicide fresh in everyone’s mind it should be noted now, more than ever, that words have an incredibly powerful impact. Perhaps this site will bring to light the reality of the way the younger generations are negatively interacting through social media.

–The Cord Editorial Board

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