Amy Robach of “Good Morning America” is in hot water this week. She referred to “People of color” as “Colored People” on the air! There are some faux pas’ which are easily forgiven and others which will haunt you for the rest of your career. It is yet to be seen which this will be for Ms Robach.
What is interesting is the evolution of speech and how this particular phrase became to be considered a racial slur. Deborah, E McDowell, director of the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
“We no longer use the term colored people, although once upon a time that was a term in use,” McDowell said. “Now the preferred usage is people of color if you are speaking about people of color broadly. If you are referring specifically to African-Americans, people will frequently be specific and refer to us as African-Americans.”
Words have meaning and have the potential to cause great pain. We should all be very careful how we speak. Scripture teaches in James 3:6, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
A turn of phrase from “people of color” to “colored people” turns the heart of millions against you. The life and career of this young woman potentially turned on what she refers to as a “slip of the tongue.” Perhaps it truly was an accident and an unintentional offense but the incident proves a strong reminder of the truth of scripture and our responsibility to carefully consider what we say to one another.
Have you considered how your words are affecting the world around you? Have you thought about how your tone of voice and choice of phrase is blessing or cursing your wife, husband or children? Have you considered the power to encourage or depress your pastor, friend or co-worker? We do well to pray and consider such things.
FIVE THOUGHTS TO THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK:
- Is this hurtful? — Seldom is there a genuine reason to say something which might cause another person pain. Think about what you are about to say and be sure it is something God would have you speak. Is it helpful, constructive and edifying? Or is it just plain hurtful, mean, spiteful.
- Is This Gossip? — Scripture is clear that we are never to be gossips. Webster defines a gossip as, ” A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others.” Are the details you are sharing “sensational” or “personal?” What is your motivation for sharing them?
- Is this Accurate? — Likely half or more of all lies are shared by someone who is purporting to tell the truth. Many a Facebook post or forwarded email has been debunked by a quick search at snopes.com. Often the person speaking the inaccuracy as well as the one being spoken about are injured by what has been “shared.”
- Is This Necessary? — Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Some of us would do wise to memorize and consider this truth…often.
- Is This From God? — God really does put His word in our mouth and when He does so we shouldn’t stay silent! When a kind, encouraging, uplifting word comes to mind and you refrain from speaking, both the hearer and yourself are lesser for the silence which has occurred.
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