The Dark Side of Dialogue
By: Mahfooz Ahmad Bakshi
Have you ever heard or read that before learning different languages, learn the swear words first! Yes, you probably have heard it. Swear words, often referred to as profanity or obscenities, have been a part of human language and expression for centuries, but what is surprising is that nowadays kids say the words which even an aged adult would be ashamed of uttering.
In fact, 9-year-old children know things that I have never even heard of. These words, considered offensive or taboo in many cultures, evoke strong emotional reactions and play various roles in communication. Communication is an essential part of building a strong and successful society. There are various types of Communication like formal, informal, but in this article I will mostly mention ethical and unethical Communication. Well, ethical communication prioritizes respect, transparency, better understanding, fairness, positivity, motivation, helping and all the beneficial stuff, but unethical Communication, on the other hand, involves destructive criticism, deception, manipulation, disrespect, bullying, body-shaming, discrimination, privacy violation and what not?
Communication is supposed to have a positive influence, but human beings have a dirty habit of ruining everything just out of curiosity. Curiosity leads to invention, we all know that, but does anybody know what caused the invention of unethical Communication? What was the need for inventing swear words, the words that can compel the victim to end his/her life?
I don’t usually go outside but whenever I go for outings I meet many people, among which 90% of people use swear words after every single word. They greet each other by calling each other the dirtiest stuff and so many things that I cannot even write them here. But I know I do not need to write everything since you all know everything.
The prevalence of profanity and offensive language in public interactions is a concerning social phenomenon in this generation. Such behavior not only reflects a lack of respect and courtesy, but can also contribute to a hostile and negative atmosphere in public spaces. The habitual use of swear words as casual greetings or in everyday conversation can desensitize individuals to the impact of offensive language, making it even more challenging to foster respectful and constructive communication.
This is the problem, right? Let’s now observe the cause and the solution. Though, I do not possess the propensity to provide effective solutions. However, I can only provide an idea or just an opinion. Furthermore, I believe that a little idea can change the whole world.
Swear words often revolve around topics considered taboo in society, such as sex, bodily functions, or religion. Though we cannot say when and where these words came from and in different cultures or languages, there are different types of words considered as “bad”. Cultural norms play a significant role in shaping which words are considered offensive or taboo. Swear words can vary widely from one culture to another, reflecting different societal values and sensitivities. And historical events, such as wars, migrations, or colonization, can introduce new languages and linguistic influences, leading to the adoption of new swear words or modifications of existing ones.
What compels people to indulge in unethical communication?
Unethical Communication can be caused by various factors, and it usually results from a combination of individual, societal, and situational influences. Some factors, according to me are Social pressure, desire for personal gain, lack of ethics education, Anger, unhealthy competition, and most importantly, social media and pop culture influence. Allow me to explain some factors a little.
Lack of Ethics Education: Some individuals may not have received proper education or guidance regarding ethical communication and how to interact respectfully. Without a clear understanding of ethical principles and values, they may engage in unethical communication without realizing its consequences. And that gives rise to the unavailability of ethical role models in a society.
The absence of ethical role models or leaders who prioritize ethical communication can contribute to a culture where unethical behavior goes unchecked. Social media plays a key role in the learning of different things, and it is one of the major reasons why kids are speaking swear words normally. Kids learn from parents and elders also, but I think kids spend most of their time on social media than with parents and other people.
On social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc, there are numerous cringe content creators who program the minds of kids with all the garbage through their cringe videos. In fact, some content creators themselves agreed that they became famous only because of the swear words that they usually utter in their videos. So, social media is somehow deteriorating our youth because Media portrayals of unethical behavior, whether in news, entertainment, or social media, can influence individuals’ attitudes and behaviors, making unethical communication appear more acceptable. Through the media, unethical Communication has become so normal that we feel there is nothing wrong in that. That’s why we see people getting involved in unnecessary arguments, typically.
Moreover, ethical lapses can occur when individuals prioritize personal gain, such as financial profit, career advancement, or reputation enhancement, over ethical considerations. This can lead to dishonesty, manipulation, or deception. For personal gain, pornography is being normalized too in the name of sex education!
And my dear readers, pornography has not only ruined the health and relationships but also the communication. Swear words related to sex or pornography are so common that an adult is ashamed of listening when a kid speaks such kinds of words. Now, as I mentioned “Pornography” in this article, I would not allow people below 18 to read this. There is nothing wrong, but I know out of curiosity, teenagers who are not familiar with all the things that I mentioned here might search what it really means, then they may get addicted to such perilous content.
Words have the power to uplift, inspire, and connect people, but they can also hurt, alienate, and divide. Ethical communication is rooted in the understanding that the words we choose matter. They have the potential to build bridges or barriers, to create trust or mistrust, and to promote understanding or misunderstanding.
To avoid your kids from learning unethical Communication, then be an ethical role model yourself if you are struggling to find one. Remember what M. K Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” starting from your home can be helpful for the whole society. Words have the power to uplift, inspire, and connect people, but they can also hurt, alienate, and divide. Ethical communication is rooted in the understanding that the words we choose matter. They have the potential to build bridges or barriers, to create trust or mistrust, and to promote understanding or misunderstanding, so to avoid saying swear words and prevent kids from learning them, it’s crucial to create an environment that fosters respectful and positive communication. Start by being a role model. Children often emulate the behavior they observe, so strive to use respectful language consistently, especially around them.
People should realize the power of silence, it helps to reduce anger. We regularly say a lot when we get angry over something, so rather than yelling, we should always lock ourselves in a room.
Maintain open communication with your kids. Encourage them to express themselves and ask questions without fear of judgement. When they inquire about swear words they may have heard, provide age-appropriate explanations about why these words are impolite and the significance of respectful communication.
In conclusion, I would love to highlight a quote by George Bernard Shaw. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
This quote emphasizes that unethical communication, which may involve deception, manipulation, or dishonesty, can lead to misunderstandings and a false sense of effective communication. It underscores the importance of truthful and transparent communication to avoid such illusions.
(The author is a columnist and hails from district Ganderbal)