Wash Your Mouth Out | Adweek Wash Your Mouth Out | Adweek
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Wash Your Mouth Out

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Profanity has become so commonplace that you might think the taboos against it have expired. They haven't. A Harris Poll finds many Americans don't want certain language to be used within their hearing. While that tendency is more evident among older people, the chart below indicates it's shared by majorities of all age groups. Women were more likely than men (78 percent vs. 59 percent) to say there's language they'd rather not hear. Blacks were more likely than whites to say so (78 percent vs. 69 percent). In a breakdown by education, objections were more common among people with some college (73 percent) than those with a high-school diploma or less (65 percent) or a college degree (67 percent). (Quick aside: Polls often show the "some college" cohort to be less permissive than either high-school-only or college-degreed people.) Meanwhile, a poll by Barna Research indicates aversion to some words is more than a matter of taste: Just 37 percent of its respondents said the use of profanity is "morally acceptable."