Sun | Dec 15, 2019

It’s disgraceful and disrespectful – Uncalled-for words in valedictory address

Published:Thursday | November 21, 2019 | 12:09 AM


Call it what you will … art, expression, whatever! It was downright disrespectful for the valedictorian of the Edna Manley College to use expletives in his speech. There is absolutely no context in which it is acceptable. Even when you are quoting someone who ‘cuss a bad wud’, you must not repeat it in its entirety, but be as creative as possible to give your listener or reader the gist.

As it stands now, the use of expletives or bad words, in the Jamaican jurisdiction [as popular and freely used as they are in some circles], is illegal and the police can proffer charges.

Contrary to what some may think, bad word is not our culture but a subculture of deviant nature. So-called learned people should know better and widen their vocabulary to be as expressive as possible without breaking the law and offending others.

I was not in the audience, but I feel disrespected just learning of the ‘incident’. Yes, it was an incident that should never happen again.

It behoves the faculty and staff at Edna Manley College to ensure that students are properly guided in acceptable behaviour so that they don’t suffer another scandal.

I am going to blame the unfortunate utterance of Waldane Walker on misguided mentoring, his community and upbringing and passion in the heat of the moment. But son, don’t do that again.

Unless it was all like-minded people like Walker in the audience at the graduation, he disrespected the audience, his parents, other parents and well-wishers who know better.

Whether it is 2019 or 1919, the use of expletives is unacceptable, especially at a formal function like a graduation. I am embarrassed for the social rakishness of this society.

Using expletives to get one’s message across defeats the purpose!

Marie Henry