" Some high school students objected to my using a quote that lumped all childish ways into a category that must be done away with. To clarify things so that they work out nicely for everyone, I don’t think we need to put aside all our childish ways … just the mean ones. I think it’s time for all of us to put away the childish things that don’t work in the lives of kind, generous adults. I think we need to find alternatives to saying, or even thinking, childish things like, “Hey Faggot, Hey Cunt, Hey Nigger …” I think we need to find alternatives to saying, or even just thinking, childish things like, “You’re too fat to be on our side, or too ugly, or too poor, or too Arab …” I think we need to find alternatives to saying, or even just thinking, childish things like, “You’re either with us, or you’re against us …”

I think, instead, we should try something like this: “Excuse me … I hope I’m not interrupting,” and only when we’ve determined that we’re truly not interrupting someone or intruding on their privacy, do we proceed to ask, “I find you fascinating and so different from me. Might I ask you what your life’s been like? I think we could learn something from each other.”

How about that for putting aside childish ways that no longer work in the lives of kind, generous, inclusive adults? Isn’t that easy? “

- Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein

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