By Sergio Bucio, Diversity Co-Editor
Words have the power to unite or divide us. They can be sung, written and felt. They make us think, act and dream. We cannot control the way people interpret our ideas or thoughts, but we can control the words and tones we choose to exhibit them. Although it’s amazing that words can do all these great things for us, they can also break us.
Over the years, verbal attacks have become a sort of silent epidemic that no one really talks about. They can be manifested in a variety of ways including comparing one to another, criticizing another person’s actions and decisions, teasing others for their preferences, or just insulting anyone. The insulting word and the way it is directed can hurt one’s soul forever. Not only can a word hurt one’s self esteem, in brain scans that have been conducted through hospitals and medical research institutes, it is shown that brain scans from people who have been orally attacked “look the same as a scan of someone who was bopped on the head,” which can cause lack of concentration in some, as said by the author, Patricia Evans. Evans writes about how many people experience verbal abuse and they have no idea that there’s anything wrong with it because it’s a part of their everyday life. Her message seeks awareness about the increase of verbal attacks and harassment.
Similarly, at Forest Grove High School, our associated student body has joined forces with administration to launch a campaign that portrays a similar message. The campaign #ItEndsWithMe encourages students and adults, “to stand up against hateful words,” that divide people based on differences. It is a powerful message that is being spread, in addition it adds that students shouldn’t be discriminated based on their race, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and religions.
People should never underestimate the power of a single word, and never recklessly throw around words. One wrong word or misinterpreted word, can change the meaning of an entire sentence and even start a war. With the rise of technology, the amount of communication increases, as well as the speed and scope of who you talk to. At this time people are at the highest risk of being targeted from verbal attacks because with the power of a phone or computer, you can reach virtually anyone throughout the world.
People underestimate how peace is built on understanding, and wars are built on misunderstandings. Words are powerful entities that should be used for spreading positivity. With verbal attacks on the rise, we should be teaching one another, the real power of words and how one simple word can have a major impact on us and younger generations.