When did name-calling become acceptable behavior?


Sorry, this post isn’t book related.  I’ve had ‘name-calling’ on my mind for a while but specifically for the last several weeks and today I reached my breaking point.

Several weeks ago I was walking a property with a customer.  As she and I turned a corner in the backyard, one of the neighbors came up to his fence and started yelling at her.  He was upset about, what I considered, several inconsequential things.  But, if he feels he needs to address something with his neighbor, fine.  I wasn’t a fan of his tone but my customer didn’t let it bother her so I ignored it.  THEN…now keep in mind that to this point she had not responded to him at all and had listened calmly…he called her a “fat assed bitch” among a few other choice words and told her not to give him that look.  He walked away muttering.  Some people may think I’m naive but I didn’t grow up in a world where men talked to women that way so it took me a few seconds to even process what had just happened.  My customer then turned to me and said that it was the first time they had ever spoken.  She was fine with moving on but I was shaken.  It wasn’t directed at me but I felt dirty having even witnessed it.

On social media we see name calling every day as a normal course of action.  How sad is it that we consider that “normal” now?  Yesterday Twitter exploded with racist and misogynist attacks on Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the new Ghostbusters films.  She was called horrid names that I won’t repeat…because people either didn’t like the movie or didn’t think it should have been remade with female leads.  Are you kidding me?  Male stars do not have to deal with this level of idiocy.  What has happened in our world that allows someone sitting at a keyboard to think it’s okay to talk that way to women?  (Notice that I didn’t say “some man”.  Some of the worst attacks on women come from other women which is another topic in itself.)

I’ve been clear that I hate politics and pretty much all politicians (there are exceptions where I see someone actually trying to do good but they are too few and too far between.)  Rather than debating issues, most of politics is now “I’m better than him/her” or just name calling.  Regularly, Hillary Clinton is called “Killary” on Facebook along with the old standards, bitch and c***.  Even more disturbing is the regular use of derogatory terms basically calling her a lesbian.  This is supposedly from ultra-conservatives who preach love and peace.  Really?  I’m sorry but Jesus isn’t okay with this.  I don’t remember the passage in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John that said it’s okay to call someone a c*** because you don’t like their politics.

Today the internet is abuzz about Melania Trump.  Again, I don’t care if you agree or disagree with her or her husband.  But, she is a human being.  And a woman.  A mother!  She has been called every name in the dictionary that could be an insult to women.  All of them are disturbing.  But you know what bothered me the most?  “Mail order bride”.  This gem is supposedly coming from liberals who preach that woman are equal and should be treated with respect.  Is that only when they agree with you?  Because I don’t think this is treating her with respect.  Criticize her speech, her politics or her choice in spouse.  But calling an immigrant who has come to this country a mail order bride and making fun of her accent is the height of hypocrisy.

If the best you can do when communicating with someone is to call them a name, then you might want to reconsider your argument.  We need to get back to having serious discussions and not act like chimps throwing poop at each other.

14 thoughts on “When did name-calling become acceptable behavior?

  1. Great post, and I couldn’t agree more. Were you around for the “Me Generation”? There was a great article back in 2013 in Time Magazine:
    Spoiled. Entitled. Narcissistic. Cruel. Lazy. Etc. Etc. Etc. I think the ball actually started rolling in the early 60’s. The “Groovy” generation, fighting back against the stultifying 50’s became a group of entitled parents raising entitled kids through the 70’s and 80’s. The 90’s and 2000’s kept the situation spinning out of control as each succeeding generation became more and more self centered, more and more narcissistic. Where will it end? The US is looking more and more like the last days of Rome . . . Pft…

    • Thank you. I am 44 and have started to fall prey to the things we used to laugh at our parents for saying. “These younger kids…” I do think millennials have issues that they need to work out (and quickly). It is frightening to see them, on the whole, head down a scary path of entitlement. At some point they need to have the worker bees that are present in older generations. But, I also think that since the beginning of time people have worried about or criticized the younger generations. I hope they will figure things out.

      As far as the US, I am a proud American. There are a lot of good people living here and I have friends that are liberal, conservative and moderate. Friends that are Christian, Jewish and atheist. Friends that are hetero and LGBT. Friends that are black, white, Asian… I see people all around me getting along fine. So, on a day to day basis, I feel like we have things in hand. But when I read the news or see our political leaders with their high level of idiocy, it does make me feel like we are seeing the last days of our country. At least in its’ current form.

  2. I would have been shaken up too if I had witnessed the, what I would consider, altercation between your client and her neighbour. I think the worst thing that can happen is that we accept the derogatory comments as part of the narrative when we don’t like a film, politician or a simple point of view. Have we as a society, in this new digital age, become infantile? It’s the only explanation that fits when I see rants against people rather than mature engagement to discuss another point of view.

    • My husband believes that social media is the root cause of 99% of these issues and I think he is correct to a certain extent. It gives people a level of anonymity to let out the worst of themselves. But even in face to face interactions, people don’t seem to be able to discuss politics or religion without it becoming emotional. I understand that it is important and there are emotions tied to it. However, f we can’t talk about it without just dismissing the other person’s ideas because they disagree, then we can’t learn from each other and get better

  3. “If the best you can do when communicating with someone is to call them a name, then you might want to reconsider your argument” Yes, Yes, YES. Usually, I like following politics, but this year there has been a lot of this from both sides. Ugh. I hate it when someone has to put someone else down just so that they would look better. It’s so sad!!

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