What are your first impressions of a person who curses a lot?

A video over at the Huffington Post glibly declares that cursing is good for you. It cites a series of studies that demonstrate the power that swear words have to create emotional release (which sounds accurate), and how a swearing habit can even lead to bonding among co-workers. That’s when I had to let out a little laugh.

If you were any pre-professional programs like LEAD or INROADS you learned very early on, if not explicitly then¬†implicitly, that black people need to be sharper, neater, and all around better than their white counterparts to succeed. The same instruction is given at many black colleges and a look at the business world supports that theory. The last thing I was ever told to do is to belly up at the bar and throw back beers with my co-workers while talking like a sailor. Meanwhile, I’ve had jobs — very corporate jobs — whose culture dictated that I do so to “fit in” with the team and have friends and family members who have experienced the same. Cursing probably does help co-workers bond, but does that effect apply when you’re black, a woman, and that behavior could make you look more ignorant, sloppy, and “street” than part of the “in-crowd”?

Many of us were raised to never curse in front of our parents and still don’t. Shoot…I don’t even know what my mother would do if I swore at or around her and I’ve been grown for a while. We were trained to believe that cussin’ and fussin’ go hand in hand, and neither well-represented black people nor ladies run around spouting foulness. That sentiment is backed up by the icky feeling that men report having when they meet a woman who swears a lot. It sounds anti-feminist, but doesn’t it look kind of bad when a woman is speaking and spouts of swear word after swear word?

What do you think? Do you try to keep you language clean? Or is it no big deal?

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