Lately, words have been in the news. First came Paula Deen’s use of the N-word, and now the word “cracker” has come up in the Zimmerman trial. I think that we often overlook the power of words. These two examples prove my point. Ms. Deen’s use of the N-word got her into a lot of trouble and lost business, although years later. The word “cracker”, used by a witness in the Zimmerman trial, has introduced racism into the trial in the favor of the defense. That is a surprise.
I wrote about Paula Deen in an earlier blog, and how I didn’t know all the facts. Now more information has come out, and not in her favor. When I heard the word "cracker", I did not know what it meant. I think, like many people, I assumed it referred to crack cocaine. I thought that all those years that Polly wanted a cracker, Polly was an addict. Turns out that I was wrong. Cracker is a racial reference to a poor class of southern whites, similar to the term “red necks.” The victim used the word to describe Zimmerman.
I believe that most people communicate poorly when speaking. The internet has made oral communications worst. There is a great need for an oral spelling and grammar checker. We don’t speak precisely and clearly. We even make up words or use them incorrectly. Yet, words are powerful. They can easily offend or mislead others.
I wrote about oral communications in my e-book, Leadership for New Managers: Book Two. Here is what I wrote:
Effective leader/managers understand the nature and power of communications. Leader/managers communicate effectively by clearly expressing ideas....