Curse words not culture!

Letters to the Editor

Curse words not culture!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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Dear Editor,

My good friend from college, part of the Jamaican upper-class, in trying to justify why so many of our people still live in zinc houses, suggested that it was part of our culture.

My question to him was: “Well, if it is a part of our culture, why don't you leave your Cherry Garden enclave and build a zinc house in a poorer community?”

He was dumbfounded.

I shouted to him, “That is poverty, my friend!”

Culture as defined is: “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” It is very fluid and subtly changes over time based on one's experience. Jamaicans who live in the United States and Europe have subtle cultural differences. These differences, good or bad, are a manifestation of life experiences.

The use of indecent language is not culture! It is a subculture born out of ignorance, frustration and the inability to express oneself. Many of our entertainers lack the ability to express their thoughts. They use curse words as filler words, which, over time, have led to our coarseness. It has led other people to mock Jamaicans by imitating our vulgarity. Jamaicans have become a laughing stock because of our behaviour. We need serious behaviour modification.

The use of curse words has contributed negatively to our overall presentation of self. Those of us who lack any formal education and the ability to interact between the social groups eventually develop a negative complex of self. This, my friend, is a recipe for economic isolation and the further criminal cannibalisation of communities.

To the supporters of removing the ban on curse words, I ask: What are the positive outcomes for regular Jamaicans hearing and using curse words?

I do not see an upside.

Michael Brown

Washington, DC, USA

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