Your Opinion: Hateful speech never acceptable

Dear Editor:

There are some important things that both new and past readers should know before reading the second part of this letter. They are:

I am a retired economics/history teacher soon to be 82 years old; I do not know everything there is to know, therefore, I am not qualified to tell others (except my grandchildren) what to believe; I write letters solely because I want to share my beliefs with others who may understand things differently. (It’s possible that I could be wrong because I have been known to change my mind); Most of my past letters have dealt with my concerns about the plight of the poor and powerless and about the prevalence of hate speech.

This letter begins with my understanding of why hate speech is never acceptable. First and foremost, I believe that it produces all kinds of violence. Secondly, when my grandchildren were young I taught them that hafeful words that came out of their mouths only described themselves not the person or persons who were meant to be their target. I continue to believe that.

Today when I read letters to the editor or hear biased persons on TV attack people with whom they disagree I am both saddened and alarmed. Why must anyone use despicable language in order to disagree? I believe those who cannot disagree without being disagreeable merely expose their own shortcomings.

Who among us is so knowledgeable that we do not need to listen to other points of view? If we listen we may be able to learn from others. When I read or hear ideas and ways of thinking that are new to me, I often adopt a new perspective until I encounter another that is even more appealing. (Someone once said that only fools never change their mind. That is a perspective worth thinking about.)

Lastly, I want to suggest that everyone of us could benefit is we took time to examine the ways we communicate with others. I must put aside my conceit if I am to see through the eyes of those with different backgrounds and religions. This is especially true when the color of our skin determines how we are treated or women who have felt and fought the disrespect of misogynist men, who must be informed of the harm their behavior imposes on females.

Loving words are always acceptable.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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