“To be clear, my mother would never purposely teach me a lie. I use the word lie because it refers to an untruth; my mother’s motivation was not to lie to me but she did pass on untruths unknowingly.”
The above is an excerpt from my earlier post Lies I Believed – Part 2
It has been brought to my attention that the word ‘lies’ is perhaps too strong a word to use regarding the ideas expressed to me at home about ‘colored people’. I am sure that there was no intention on my parents’ part to purposely lie to me, it was what they had been taught by their parents and what they themselves believed to be true. I did not intend to suggest that they KNEW that they were passing on lies. I think they believed that what they were saying was the truth.
Even though the motivation of my parents was not to lie, that does not make what they told me true. If I tell someone a lie and they pass it along, it is still a lie or an untruth, even if they wholeheartedly believe it to be true based on their trust in my word. I am sure I have passed on lies unbeknownst to me. But, hopefully, someone at some point in time will recognize that what they have just heard is not true. And, then, hopefully that person
- would not pass it on as truth and also,
- hopefully, they may be able to come to me and correct me.
It would then be up to me whether I agreed that it was not true.
To further clarify:
My judgment about what I think is untrue is solely my opinion. Other readers, maybe even others in my own family may disagree with my opinion. If so, feel free to express your opinion to me by comment or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We could have a healthy exchange of ideas or opinions on this or any other subject that I have written about. I only ask that you keep it civil and that there be no personal attacks.
So what do you, my reader, think? Were the attitudes expressed at my home truth or lies? Why or why not?
Never apologize for what you write. If your critics don’t like what you say, then they should write their own work.
Thanks for the advice, Bill. I was concerned that some of my family may have been hurt by my choice of words, even though none of them have said so. I do tend to speak rather bluntly and some people are put off by that.
Thank you for your encouragement.
My long lost internet brother Bill is correct….if someone does not like what you write, let them get their own blogg, it’s free!
and you were told untruths…or lies or whoppers if you like. The Truth is there, say it.
OK Terry & Bill! Thanks. I really do want people to express their opinions here in comments though, even if they differ from mine. But from now on, no disclaimers! Sometimes I am told that I scare people off by my blunt talk. But then, I guess nobody is forcing anyone to read what I write. And, yes, there are plenty of free blogs to be had by anyone who wants one. Thanks for your support. Do I sound like Bartles & James? remember them?
Bill and Terry make good points (as much as I hate to concede it), but I’m glad you clarified your use of the word “lie.” It was sort of jarring to my ear when I read it, but maybe that’s because I was raised to consider the word “lie” to be a strong word not to be used loosely.
Lie, to me, requires intent to spread a known falsehood, generally for some personal gain – “that car was owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sunday (church was 125 miles away and she burned rubber getting there; it shows 12,537 miles on the odometer, but that’s because it rolled over);” “I only had two beers, officer (in the car just before you pulled me over);” “Body? What body?”
As my mother says, “My stories get better now that all of the people who could contradict me are dead.”
My brother and I would never, never stretch the truth.
Ok, Ken. I had a long reply written to you and BOOM, lost my internet connection. My modem is about to die. I have a new one on the way, but if you don’t hear from me for a day or two, you will know why. Now, I read that article you posted the link to and I don’t know if your mom really lost her arm or if that was completely a ‘tall tale’. You do like to leave people wondering, don’t you? Well, I guess that is a good tactic to get people to keep coming back to your website. But I want to know, does your mom have an artificial arm or not? If she does, she is definitely some kind of superwoman. Well, even if she doesn’t she sounds like a superwoman for having raised you and your brother.
Now about the word LIE. I looked it up in a dictionary and here is what it says:
1. a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2.something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.
3.an inaccurate or false statement.
4.the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.
My use of the word was in the context of definition #3 an inaccurate or false statement.
Now I will confess the truth: I chose the word LIES because I thought more people would click on the link. Now the truth is out.
If you want the truth about Mother’s arm, you’ll just have to meet her. Just don’t stare too much it makes her uncomfortable.
You ARE a rascal! I just read somebody else call you that on one of your articles. You know, I’m still not done reading that last email you sent. I can’t get past the links. Man, Cairo is looking like a ghost town for sure. Well, I guess I will just have to get your mom’s address when I go to Cape next time so I can go up and knock on her door and ask if I can look at her arm. If she raised you, I doubt if anything could make her uncomfortable.
With the miracles of modern science, I doubt that you’ll be able to spot the arm in question.
Jan Norris, my former coworker and bike riding partner, exclaimed, “I spent the weekend in a motel room with that woman and didn’t know.” That was when a bunch of us rode our bikes from Key Largo to Key West.
Get you facts first, and then you can distort ’em as much as you please.
You must be related to that other guy with the same last name. 🙂
I believe that there is a difference between an “untruth” and a lie. One can repeat an untruth without telling a lie.
I think that to qualify as a lie, the person must intentionally give the listener an incorrect mental impression (with the key word being “intentional”) Example: You ask me to attend something that I don’t want to attend, next Tuesday,so I tell you that I’m sorry, but I will be out of town that day————–I know the truth to be that I live two miles outside the city limits and I plan to be home that day. I intentionally misled you and lied to you by intentionally and knowingly giving you a false mental image. I can however repeat an untruth without lying JMHO
That’s just my opinion and it’s worth just what you paid for it 🙂
Your older Bro.
I would like to add that I failed to read the other posts before replying—-my bad.
Otherwise it would seem that I’m plagiarizing, which would, of course, be a form of a lie 🙂
I’m telling on you! You plagiarized Ken Steinhoff. You lying plagiarizer!
Tim and Darla, I’m of the Woody Guthrie School of Plagiarism: “That guy stole that from me, but I steal from everybody.”
If you steal from one person, it’s plagiarism. If you steal from a whole bunch of people, it’s called research and they give you fancy degrees for it.
Me thinks those who are offended by your choice of the word “lies” protest too much! As I read a couple of your entries, I heard your heart break at the discovery of the “truth”. It is the emotion one feels at such times that frames the words our soul chooses to express our response. It is our mind, informed by our heart, that helps us discover the “lies” were pathetic untruths hidden by time in places awaiting revelation in your time. You are the fortunate one.
p.s. I’m a 9-12er from Springfield.
Thank you so much for your comment Gary. And you are correct, those early impressions have been a heartbreak to me in my life. I guess I have used a harsh term in my own mind to describe racism because I have needed to hate & reject it from my own thinking. The mind-sets we accept when we are young are so ingrained in our thinking that it is a battle to ‘un-learn’ them; but, God is helping me to overcome, even still, in my senior years. I started battling my thoughts on this matter in 1966 and sometimes I think the battle is over only to discover some other ‘little’ prejudice (if there is even such a thing as a ‘little’ prejudice). I just keep fighting because I believe it is completely evil to think less of any other human being (for any reason, not just color) than I think of myself.
I’m one of those who was a bit uncomfortable with the word “lie” for the reasons I expressed above.
Part of it might be the way I were raised. In my family, there were a number of taboo phrases. We were not allowed to use the phrase “shut up,” much less the version you see expressed so often today, “STFU.” The word “lie,” while maybe not taboo, was a highly charged word that should be used sparingly, if at all.
That’s why Congressman Joe Wilson’s, “You lie!” during Obama’s State of the Union speech was so over the top for me. Them’s fighting words. I’ve told people before, you can disagree with me; you can dislike me, but you’d better be able to prove that I knowingly told an untruth because I don’t lie (about anything meaningful).
Some words have more baggage for some than others. “Lie” is one of those for me.
We’re all on the same page here, we’re just reading the words with different inflections.
Ken, you were blessed to have parents who had those rules about the words you used. Words can truly bring harm or healing. There were no rules about any words in my house. Consequently, I heard a lot of words that I wish I hadn’t, some directed at me, some directed at other people who didn’t even live in my house. I have a rule for myself that I don’t say any of those hurtful words and I do my best not to even think them. I think we are on the same page, as you said, as to the overall intent of my use of the word ‘lies’.