Letters to the Editor

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BULLYING: A word gets misappropriated

Letter by Deborah Kinerk, Tacoma on Sep. 4, 2012 at 11:33 am | No Comments »
September 4, 2012 2:09 pm

Re: “Records describe bullying incident” (TNT, 9-2).

Fifty years ago, the word “appropriate” was restricted to matters of decorum. It was inappropriate to talk with your mouth full or to use lewd language in polite company.

Today the word “inappropriate” has replaced the word “wrong,” effectively stripping behavior (formerly known as “conduct”) of any moral quality. People don’t act right or wrong any longer; they merely behave appropriately or inappropriately.

So what? So now a politician caught in a bald lie can sidestep the moral implications with an apology for “speaking inappropriately.” Or a Peninsula School District superintendent can cede that extended bullying of a student by both his fellow classmates and the teacher was “very inappropriate behavior.”

Very inappropriate? You’ve gotta be kidding. Is the word “very” supposed to soften the blow for that child and his parents as they read the superintendent’s description of the horror he went through as “inappropriate”?

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