On Wed., March 6, BSU held an event called, “Think Before You Speak.” Everyone was welcome to the event, and it was there they discussed issues with how language is used in interpersonal communication and in media. Following that, they discussed how there could be a positive force of change by learning how to correctly address any language misuse they could run into either on campus or in life in general.
A lot of the language discussed was between people on campus, but they also included talk about the language used in general. BSU secretary, Ciera Erwin (‘21), said that some people, “say words they have no right to say and can offend someone.” In recent years, misuse of certain language has been a large issue sparking many debates over what should and should not be said, as well as by who it should be said.
One topic heavily discussed during the event was why racial slurs, or slurs in general, became so popular. A lot of it likely has to do with political reasons, especially after the 2016 election. They also discussed the way slurs are being used in media nowadays, and why this could be offensive.
The BSU talked a lot about getting others perspectives on slurs as well. Sometimes people don’t think about what they’re saying, hence the name of the event. Their goal for the event was to spread awareness of their and others’ perspectives on topics like slurs. They also wanted to give people a chance to correct others in a way that wouldn’t ignite arguments or fights. When language is used incorrectly or in an offensive way, Erwin mentioned that some people may want to have some sort of “retaliation.” The BSU discussed ways to avoid that during the event. They mentioned that it is possible to correct people, while still using a positive and respectful tone. It was emphasized to be calm and respectful about correcting someone, as this is the best way to avoid any further conflict with the person misusing the language. The event went over very well. Students have continued to go to staff and BSU officers to say how much they liked the event and that they should “do this more often,” as one person said to Erwin. They also approached officers and staff with further questions after the event had ended, which is very encouraging for the future of the event. BSU has been doing a lot of great things, and surely there will be far greater to come!