Sorry… But I’m Offended that you’re Offended
Maybe I’m just old or maybe I’m out of touch but in my opinion, it seems that most everyone is offended by most everything these days. I have friends that are from all walks of life, religions, skin colors and nationalities and all of these people matter to me. I’m not too sure what’s going on, but it seems like society has lost its mind. I’m not sure if people just don’t think or if they just want their 15 minutes of glory and want to be heard but some of the things I see going on don’t make any type of rational sense to me at all. People used to be able to have meaningful discussion about many things but today you need to be SOOOO careful with what you say because it will offend someone somewhere or a meaning will be attached to what you have said that incorrectly interprets it and you will inevitably be attacked if it doesn’t line up with their point of view.
I was told jokingly when I was a kid that when you get older and hopefully wiser you can say anything, and no one can do anything about that but today that is not true. Elders are treated poorly by many because they are old except in the First Nations communities where they respect the Elders and look to them for guidance. Maybe, we as a society should follow suit.
Disagreement is a healthy part of democracy. We all have different views on taxation, foreign policy, justice, and so on. The beauty of democracy is that we can disagree openly, discuss publicly, and (hopefully) find a compromise.
The operative word here being “compromise”. These days, it often feels like nobody is willing to compromise and everyone is playing to their political base. Compromise is referred to pejoratively as “fudge”; a solution nobody is happy with, but everyone can just about live with. Everyone gets their second-best solution.
Compromise obviously requires dialogue. It requires give and take, flexibility, and pragmatism. However, if we are so focused on “ideological purity”, and so offended by someone’s political views that we refuse to even talk to them, how can we ever achieve compromise?
Adopting a loud, aggressive tone is a great way to grab attention in the media. US President Donald Trump is the most famous example of a politician who likes to regularly – mostly via Twitter – dish out criticism. At the same time, Trump also is famously thin-skinned, taking great offence when somebody criticizes him.
I recently read this 2016 article below:
Welcome To The Thin-Skinned Generation, Where Everything is A Bloody Problem.
By Jasky Singh
As soon as I press send on this post, I will have already offended several people. Angry reply emails are likely to start filling my inbox. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the theme of this post. Or my last post. Or the one before that where I received 50+ emails of charged up opinions, yet not a single one of those people left a comment publicly. In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with what anyone is saying most of the time. This is my opinion, and 100% my opinion, but I am of the belief that… People today have been trained to seek out a reason to be offended. Because we, as parents, educators, friends, family members, and society in general, are formulating systems that promote sensitivity. Instead of resilience. And the problem is, we are doing this unknowingly. Where the right thing is seemingly being done, the thickness of people’s skin continues to erode under our nose. Invisible to us. There were many hardships faced by our forefathers which we can’t relate to, because we live in a society where as a baseline rule, people aren’t dying from: Hunger, Simple infections, or, working fourteen-hour days just to put food on the table. Lifestyle-wise our species is much better off. Struggling to meet these essential needs does not take up a great deal of our mental processing. It, however, leaves us with more time to dwell on our emotions and feelings. And on the respect and appreciation of others’ feelings. And consequently, energy is exerted into developing laws, structures, policies, and systems, foreseeing situations where people’s feelings and well-being may be compromised. One building block onto the next, and here we are today wrapped in these tight bubbles that protect us. The bubble known as “politically correct”. Any step outside this space and the terrain is full of land mines. It’s hard not to have shit blow up.
A 2014 article in Phycology Today put it this way:
“It seems that people are getting offended more easily. Perhaps that’s a good thing. For example, there’s ever less tolerance for a statement or action that could even vaguely be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, elitist, or ageist. Some would say zero tolerance, even for a mild joke in that area, is the best approach to eradicating it. On the other hand, hypersensitivity to such offenses has potential downsides. For example, it could encourage making such claims even when illegitimate or trivial as a way to deflect attention from the true issue.
Another example: People seem ever more likely to take offense at being criticized. A poor employee evaluation is as likely to yield a defensive reaction as an introspective one. Perhaps we’ve taken too far the exhortations to use praise over criticism and to build people’s self-esteem. Also, ironic, we seem less likely to be offended by things that are unarguably offensive. For example, we now accept as normal that people don’t respond to our emails or phone messages, even if it’s a job seeker who worked hard on an application. We don’t get offended at drug-company commercials designed to scare us into buying drugs that, if were so good, would require only a journal article read by physicians, not millions of dollars of advertising to the easily duped general public, the cost of which get added to what we pay for medicine. Not to mention, no one wants their TV recreation interrupted by long lists of side-effects, from diarrhea to death.
In sum, we’re getting offended by the wrong things. Especially important, society would be better if we appreciated rather than got offended by criticism and if we were offended that we’re made to feel scared to be politically incorrect. Not only does that stifle our freedom of expression, the censoring of the free marketplace of ideas encourages societal stasis rather than progress”.
Hope I didn’t offend anyone. Hope you all have a wonderfully Sunny weekend….Hope I am still able to say that.
Brian & Myles McCullough, RE/MAX of Nanaimo
#1-5140 Metral Drive
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2K8
Office: (250) -751 – 1223