The Power of a Word

Tonight I was called a word that frankly I never wanted to hear anyone seriously refer to me with. I was told that I was discriminating against another person when I was sharing my view on a subject. When I asked for further explanation about how exactly I was discriminating however I got none.

This led to some deep thinking as I later walked around Wally World buying cat food and other random items that I “needed” because it’s payday and I actually have money again. And to be brutally honest, I was hurt by the comment made to me. But I started to wonder, was I hurt because the statement was wrong and I was unable to successfully plead my case? Or was I hurt because the statement rang true and the truth often hurts?

In looking up the word discriminate I found this:

dis·crim·i·nate [v. dih-skrim-uh-neyt; adj. dih-skrim-uh-nit]
-verb (used without object)
1. to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality: The new law discriminates against foreigners. He discriminates in favor of his relatives.

This is the definition that I, and I would say most people often think of when they hear the word. An unfair judgement against someone that isn’t based on any fact or merit. I can piss and moan with the best of them but I am a pretty positive damn person and being a member of not one but three minority groups I do my best to avoid unfair judgement of other people as much as possible. I’m a social worker for heaven’s sake, how could I be so judgemental?!

Other definitions of the word however do express what I feel I am doing in this particular situation:

2. to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately: to discriminate between things.
-verb (used with object)
3. to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate: a mark that discriminates the original from the copy.
4. to note or distinguish as different: He can discriminate minute variations in tone.
-adjective
5. marked by discrimination; making or evidencing nice distinctions: discriminate people; discriminate judgments.

That doesn’t exactly help me feel any better though because I know that when I was being told that I was discriminating it was not by any means pointing at these less negative versions of the word. I know that when the statement was said, it was meant to make me feel bad about what I was saying.

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore the person who said this to me and we were having a much needed and somewhat heated discussion about a situation that greatly affects our lives. I can even say that I to a certain degree understand why this person would think I was being negative. My problem though (or at least one of them) is that in the same breath that I and another person were being called discriminatory, the accuser was then doing the exact same thing about another person and yet that was perfectly okay. I don’t do well with being unfair like that which is exactly what we were talking about in the first place.

My so-called discrimination has to do with my inability to accept when a person who is in a position of power is abusing said power and getting away with murder. Because I refuse to stand by and accept mistreatment of friends by this person and can express my opinion and support it with proof of the persons misuse of power I am apparently discriminating.

“But ___ is a nice person!” is what I’m told, but let me be blunt… I don’t give a rats ass how nice a person is if they suck at their job, they know they suck at their job, they abuse the power of their job, and they refuse to do anything to improve. Excuses will only get you so far in my world… You were poorly trained? That sucks but when other people tried to help you, you should have taken their help instead of acting like you were above being helped. You don’t feel like anyone respects you? Try respecting them first since they know more about what they’re doing than you do. If I’d been working with Mother Theresa and she sucked at what she was doing I would have had a problem with it. Being a nice person doesn’t mean shit in a workplace if you can’t pull your weight. You can be nice all you want on the street, but when it comes to being in power, you have to lead as well.

A leader is someone who is supposed to model the behavior that they expect the followers to copy… Not someone who lies to cover their ass when they fuck up, never takes responsibility for anything, lives with a “do as I say not as I do” attitude, and throws fits because they just don’t understand why no one respects them. I cannot and will not respect someone who doesn’t respect me, nor will I respect a leader who refuses to lead in a positive way. If you try to lead me by force and by trying to make me fear you, I will be the most difficult bitch in the bunch, but if you lead by example, I’ll follow you forever. It’s the damn Golden Rule that you learn in your first day of Kindergarten, treat everyone how you want them to treat you. If you can’t see anything positive and all you do is pick at my friends trying to point out every fault you see, then I sure as hell am going to point out all of your faults too!

I’ve been a leader in business situations and I can honestly say that yes, I know was a good one. Did I have my faults? Or course I did, I’m only human. But I was also able to admit when I messed up and learn from my mstakes. I learned as much from the people that I led as I taught them, because in my mind that is what a good leader does.

So yes, I can discriminate the differences between a good leader and a poor one. I can be discriminate in what I choose to accept with a smile and what I’ll fight tooth and nail against. But I do not and have not discriminated against the person in question for unfair reasons. I know this and believe this despite how hurt my feelings were tonight. I know that if this poor leader were doing the things needed to earn my respect and become a good leader, I would allow more room for improvement. I know that if this person could just for once admit the truth, I would see things differently. But I have not seen anything positive from this person, any effort from this person, and I do have a problem with it. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” – Unknown

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