Am I crazy? How about loony? Demented? Deranged? Loopy? Mad? Psycho? Whacko? Cuckoo? Nutjob? Are all of these okay? Are any of them okay? What about calling me mentally ill? Is that okay? It is with me.
Unlike many diagnosed with a mental illness I don’t mind being called mentally ill. Granted, many of the names used above have been used to hurt, shame, and lead to the stigma of being mentally ill. Many call them hurtful and I understand, but I believe that one of the ways to end the stigma is to take ownership of these words so that they cannot be used against us. They lose their power.
The “N” Word
During the 1970’s, the term we now refer to as the “N” word was used frequently in movies and television. The word was used throughout Mel Brooke’s movie Blazing Saddles. Although the point of the movie was the absurdity of racism, it’s very unlikely that movie would be filmed today.
The word was used in 1971 on All in the Family, however, it may be surprising that it was never used by Archie Bunker. Sammy Davis Jr. appeared as himself and used the word on the show. The most successful All in the Family spin-off was the Jefferson’s. Many do not remember that George Jefferson used the word on several shows.
On Sanford and son, Red Fox also used the word on several episodes,
The “N” word became somewhat safe for television comedy after these shows so long as a black person said it. It also helped that each of the characters who used the word regularly was a buffoon. Sammy Davis Jr. is an exception
By the 1980’s, for some reason, it no longer was acceptable to use the word. I am sad about this because it seems that the word was losing its edge. There were those who were outraged by its use, however, I personally am saddened that the word has fallen out of favor once again and it has regained its power. I hope this will change, again, in the not two distance future.
On the 11th Annual National Day of Silence, Erin Davies was victim to a hate crime in Albany, New York. Because of sporting a rainbow sticker on her VW Beetle, Erin’s car was vandalized, left with the words “fag” and “u r gay” placed on the driver’s side window and hood of her car. Despite initial shock and embarrassment, Erin decided to embrace what happened by leaving the graffiti on her car. She took her car, now known worldwide as the “fagbug,” on a 58-day trip around the United States and Canada. Along the way, Erin discovered other, more serious hate crimes, had people attempt to remove the graffiti, and experimented with having a male drive her car
This is an excellent example of what I’m talking about. Erin was attacked by the ugly word fag and turned it around and used It to empower her to travel the country (and the world) to make a difference
Call me crazy
Those are two examples of how hurtful words were weakened because certain members of society refused to let them gain power. I believe much could would change if we embraced them. Sure, there’s some on the list that I don’t like. They would be mad, psycho, demented and deranged. Once again, I give those words their power. A word, in and of itself, is not harmful.
Am I crazy? You bet your ass I am. I do admit I’m the minority with this position so I’m anxious to hear from you. Is it important to allow the words to be used on a regular basis to loosen their strength? Or, are they so hurtful that we should avoid them at all costs?