First I must apologize for this week’s W.O.W. being a day late. We had an extremely busy Saturday filled with an ice cream social, historical village, grocery shopping, and babysitting. (I warned you I might be inconsistent from time to time.)
This week’s Word of the Week: Omission.
I was inspired by the Daily Prompt on WordPress. There was a question as to the necessity for political correctness. The post asked bloggers to write about whether we feel it is more important to be honest or politically correct (PC). I read several of the responding posts. One blogger wrote that being politically correct was to practice the art of omission. He said he felt that people take political correctness too seriously, causing people to omit some of their feelings and thoughts. He felt honesty was the best policy. (I wish I could credit the author but I read so many blogs I honestly don’t remember which blog it is from. Sorry!!!)
I have to say I agree with the above blogger in some ways. There were those commenting on his post that disagreed, but omitting things constantly gets exhausting. I also agree that sometimes omissions are good. I suppose I am torn on the subject. When my mom asks me how she looks now that she has stopped coloring her hair and wearing make-up, I omit some of my opinions. I tell her the truth, but I omit some truths. However, there are times when omissions can be bad. For example, when a wife asks her husband what he did today and he omits that he rendevoused with his ex-girlfriend, that’s a bad omission. Law dictionaries actually give examples of how witnesses, officers, attorneys, and government officials can face criminal charges for omissions.
Omissions occur more than only in conversation. Have you ever felt ignored, forgotten, or excluded? I have, far too many times. When I went away to college, my best friend went with me. We shared a dorm room. She is one of those people that could make friends with an entire room of people in five minutes. She always had friends, places to go, and stuff to do. I was shy. I wasn’t “cool” like her. I didn’t know how to open up to people, and I certainly wasn’t accustomed to just joining in without an invite. My mother and grandmother both taught me I should never invite myself to go over to a friend’s house, to go along on an outing, or into a group of people. When my roommate and her friends were constantly going out and doing fun things, meeting new people, and enjoying their college experience without me, I felt omitted. In a way I was. I spoke to my friend about it. I was extremely upset at the time. I told her I felt she was excluding and ignoring me, and that she was not being a good friend. She took offense. She said she wasn’t going to beg me to come along every time something fun came along. She suggested I just tell her when I wanted to go, or just show up and go along. An invite was not required and I shouldn’t expect one. She felt I overreacted. I simply didn’t feel comfortable forcing myself into a group of people. Unfortunately, it changed our relationship forever. I was hurt. I felt neglected as her friend. She felt I was neglecting myself. She gave me what she saw as the only viable solution, but I didn’t feel I was capable of or comfortable with that solution.
Omissions are both good and bad in my opinion. It can feel quite overwhelming sometimes, trying to know when to make an omission and when I shouldn’t. Relationships seem to hinge on it. My very close friend is a mixed African American. I can’t pretend I understand how she feels, being mixed or Black. She has struggled tremendously and I will never understand it. I am not a racist. I know White people say that all the time when it’s not true, but I really am not. I don’t claim to be an expert on race. I don’t pretend to understand. I admit I am naive, which is why I avoid the subject in most cases, but my ignorance doesn’t make me racist. I would rather avoid the subject than risk hurting someone’s feelings by asking questions. I feel this way because I hurt my friend once by asking questions. A White male friend of hers sang an R&B song in our open mic group that was recorded by a Black male artist. It had the “N” word in it. I asked her what it means when an African American says that word, as opposed to someone of a different ethnicity. She looked at me like I had suddenly grown a third eye. Perhaps I should have omitted that question. We talked it out, but I was so hurt by her reaction. She seemed to honestly hate my ignorance. It made me feel as if she hated a part of who I am. I know that’s not true, but it pushed me to the point that I avoid any kind of racial discussion whatsoever. I try to avoid discussing the differences between people because I am so afraid of hurting someone. Whether it’s good or bad that I do this, I don’t know. Perhaps I should be more proactive. Should I do more research? Should I try to understand? Perhaps, but I am not ready to take the risk.
I was surprised at some of the information I found when I was researching this week’s word of the week. I had not really considered all the meanings of omissioin before. That is why I like working on these little projects. I enjoy learning, researching, and exploring words. I like that I can research a word that seems quite simple and self-explanitory and it turn out to be something far more interesting than it seems. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the definitions.
According to Dictionary.com “omissioin” is a noun, defined as follows: Someone or something that has been left out or excluded; The action of excluding or leaving out someone or something. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as something neglected or left undone; Apathy toward or neglect of duty. I was shocked to see that neither definition mentioned omissions in conversation, as in leaving something unsaid.
Words synonymous with omission: neglect, negligence, oversight (dictionary.com).
The root word “omit” comes from 1350-1400 Middle English. It is also found in the Latin word omissiō, meaning “to let go”.
I Need Two Cents-
I am interested to hear what you have to say about this week’s W.O.W. If you have any suggestions as to any future words, please feel free to share! I am always open to suggestions and need help with inspiration at times. I really enjoyed this week’s word. I couldn’t be more pleased with what I’ve learned. I hope that I am helping my (small) audience to learn some things too and I want to learn from you as well. Thank you for reading!
omission. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved August 11, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/omission
“Omission.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/omission>.