Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mind Your Words

As a child, thinking before I spoke never really came easy, as I'm sure it didn't for anyone else during their early formative years. However, now at the age of 21 with years of schooling, experience, and knowledge behind me, I now have a tendency to think about the words I'm about to say without experiencing an embarrassing case of "word vomit". If you haven't noticed, we live in a pretty diverse nation, and Coca-Cola did a pretty wonderful job at illustrating that.

With that being said, last week during an open discussion in one of my substance abuse minor courses, I watched the very horrible example of someone failing to reconsider their choice of words before allowing it to spew out for all to hear and possibly offend within earshot.

The dialogue went a little something like this:
     Professor: "Does anyone have anything they would like to discuss or any concerns they have about starting fieldwork?"
     Student: "Well, I'm a Social Work major, so I'm starting my second semester at my placement. One time I had a patient ask me if I had ever done drugs myself and I didn't know what to say at first and I stuttered so I knew I had to come up with something. I ended up just giving her some retarded answer."
     Professor: "We have or all will encounter that question at least once throughout our career"
What's wrong with this picture:

Mistake number 1: I didn't say anything, but in my defense I think I was experiencing shell shock and couldn't even muster out an "um" to interject.
Mistake number 2: The professor didn't address the fact the student, a social work major and future addictions counselor, just used the term "retarded". Also, the professor is a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), a counselor in the addictions field, and should be culturally competent/ humble at this point in their career.
Mistake number 3: The student, again, a social work major and substance abuse minor, used the term "retarded" to improperly explain her mistake at her field placement.

A little side note: As I have stated, this student is a social work major with a minor in substance abuse, the same undergraduate career path I am about to complete. Seeing as I have finished my major requirements and am 2 classes away from finishing my substance abuse minor, I have a pretty good idea of the courses she has already taken. We are trained to be culturally competent, aware of how we present ourselves, speak, and work with our clients and colleagues, and to most importantly adhere to the NASW's Code of Ethics, which might I add, is engrained into our brains.

With my rant just about over, just remember the golden rule our elders lectured us with time and time again:
Think before you speak.


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