An acquaintance stopped by my office to leave something for me to distribute. As he left he met someone in the hall and returned to get one of what he brought me. Before my brain had a chance to censor my mouth, out came “Indian giver!” Of course it was just good-natured mouthing off, but I feel just terrible that my filters work so slowly. The last thing I want to do is offend. I truly have no racial-slur intentions when some old expression I once spoke so glibly falls out of my mouth. I don’t think about it until I hear myself say it. Much of the time I know its use but not its meaning.
It isn’t easy keeping up with language. Sometimes I’ll ask my kids what something means or I’ll just say, “Does that mean what I think it means?” I don’t know how many years I used the term “brownnosing” before a light went on upstairs and I asked Ben, “Does that mean…?” Uh huh. Pretty quick that word vanished from my vocabulary.
I don’t remember how effective it was when my parents washed out my mouth with soap when they felt I used inappropriate words. What wasn’t acceptable to say back then seems common today, and the reverse is also true. Racial slurs were used without batting an eye! I still think it’s important to keep watch over my mouth. I’ll keep trying, really I will.