“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me,” is what children tell each other after being called a nasty name.

I have to ask the question where children learn name-calling.

A racist, an overt racist will scream the N-word at you or the K-word or call you names such as monkey or “hotnot” (derogatory term for brown person also known as coloured person on South Africa) and they are expecting some reaction from you.

Here are my thoughts on this name-calling.

Any word like the ones mentioned above and or words like bitch and whore to describe a woman should be viewed in the harshest light possible.

Quite frankly if beating someone up or killing someone was not against the law then to my mind this is exactly what would happen every single time. We would have bodies strewn across pavements and in shopping malls because people could kill or assault without any consequences.

The only reason why verbal abuse or verbal assault happens is that the physical can be seen, is visible and therefore physical evidence that can be recorded.

Yet every verbal assault should be viewed in the same harshest light we view physical assault because it is scars that remain in the victim’s psyche like a blob of ink on paper that only fades over many years but never becomes completely clear.

Think about it for a moment. How dangerous is the person, who is a complete stranger to you whether in real life or on social media and how unstable that they would intentionally abuse and or assault someone who they don’t know or have never met? We would then be creating a world where there were no rules of law, no consequences for your physical and verbal actions.

Imagine if every time a racist spewed their hatred, that verbal assault manifested into a physical assault for the purposes of convicting the accused. Black and brown people would walk around so scarred the accused would probably be given life sentences.

And shouldn’t we be dealing with harsher sentences though because the victim’s scars remain while the accused simply mutters an unapologetic, often coerced sorry.

Sticks and stones may break our bones but words? Words harm! Words hurt! Words scar! And new scars often form onto old scars based on where black and brown people encounter racists.

There is no word, or rather derogatory word that exists that can harm most black and brown people anymore because they have been called all that they can be called already. It’s simply scars upon scars that form thick layers of scar tissue that will take nearly a lifetime to heal.

Imagine if the verbal assault happened to their children? Those children would be removed by the State and rightly so and taken to places of safety.

This is ultimately what black and brown people need. Safe spaces free from overt and covert racists.

Instead, we are made to endure and endure we do. We endure like a person lost in a sandstorm in a desert. We keep walking while the sand stings every part of our bodies and even if we have protective clothing, the sand finds its way in there. No part of our body is safe or unharmed.

Racists will continue delivering their brand of assault until they are stopped and shown the consequences of their actions.

Black and brown people may be armed against the sticks and stones and bullets coming our way but we need to find harsher sentences for the words and level of hate that never seems to cease.

For those white people who think they are good people, we can’t see how good you are when the constant verbal abuse is always explained away by yourself. All it shows black and brown people is that you’re complicit and your Oscar-worthy performance of the accused’s defence attorney doesn’t convince us simply because you are defending nicely.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

– Edmund Burke