Keeping the Soap in Your Mouth

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 print edition.

By Iris Vasquez Guerrero

Since I can remember my parents have always scolded me for using foul language in their presence. I was brought up in a fairly strict household, where if I even whispered a bad word I would get more than just yelled at.  Up until very recently have I become bolder and use some questionable language in front of them, to which they still give the side eye.  The freedom that is allowed in the classroom can sometimes become a bit overwhelming and even somewhat vulgar when students take their liberty to heart.

It might be that I am so much older than most of the student population, but I feel that certain language is inappropriate in a public space.  In private I am dropping the F bomb as much as any other adult, but when we are in an education setting I feel that it diminishes the discussion when people must resort to profanity.

Freedom of expression is vital to encourage participation.  However, I find that many students are using this freedom to talk over others or they can turn into disagreements that demean another person.  I know that I can express my opinions without the need for foul language which then causes me to question the necessity of the profanity.  Is it just a tool to make sure their point is heard? Is it a last resort to argue their side?  Is it about showing their passion for an issue?  I am curious to find out.

Faculty might swear from time to time, but in my mind they have earned their right to.  It is their class after all.  They might also apologize before or after doing so which I can appreciate.

I am in no way a saint, and I may know some words that the kids now a days may not have heard of, but my upbringing has instilled the idea of respect.  Respect in the sense that curse words are said in private, or when you stub your toe.


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