Offensensitivity

I heard a great quote the other day…

Having to hear someone else’s opinion is not oppression.
Not being able to express an opinion in fear of offending someone is.

That’s a bit paraphrased, and I don’t remember where I heard it, so I can’t reference it properly.   But it makes sense to me.

If you don’t like what I say; don’t listen.   But let me say it.

I don’t think that it is the fear of offending one individual that is creating the problem.  Often times what’s being expressed isn’t really bad at all, it’s just something that has been labeled as inappropriate or hateful, so it gets clumped into the bucked of offense.

Here’s an example.

I don’t see a problem with complementing a woman at work on a particular outfit, or hairstyle, or even in general.   Just telling a woman “you always dress nicely”, or “I like your new haircut”, or “That’s a nice top you’re wearing” doesn’t mean I’m even thinking about it as a sex object.    You might like the fabric, or color or style, without a thought of what’s underneath.  In today’s environment, it’s just as likely to end up in HR as it is to get a “Thank you”.    Now, there are pigs out there that are being sexist and vulgar… I’m not talking about that.   Just us average Joe’s who try to be nice.

Okay, that’s a little bit of a stretch, but you get the point.

History is a big issue these days.  There’s a wave of events directed at statues and monuments that suggest oppression and racism.    The Civil War era is particularly targeted.  “We should not honor General Robert E. Lee, because he led the fight to protect slavery!”

Read a book people.

General Lee was against both Slavery, and the war between the states.  He resigned his commission in the US Army when it became apparent that he would have to lead an attack on his own homeland.  Given the choice, he had to defend his home from invasion.   He wasn’t even brought on to lead the army, just as a stagiest.  He only took over when it became absolutely necessary.  How does that make him racist?  Oh… It’s what the war represents.   The demon South was killing all those Northerners so they could keep having slaves to beat.  Truth time.   The war was more about States rights than slavery.

But the truth is, why does it matter?

History is history.  Right or wrong, it is what happened.  Don’t be offended for crying out loud.   Teach it, learn from it, and remember it, and if it’s bad, don’t repeat it.

Another fact for consideration.  The ‘norms’ of the day are a part of it too.   Women (and some men) use the Alienation of affection law to punish the ‘guilty’ spouse, and for financial gain.   But the purpose of this law at the time was a way for a man to protect his property.   Yes, I said property.  A mans wife belonged to him, just like a horse, real estate, or (dare I say) a slave.  A wife had no rights, she was just a piece of property.  So if some other man stole her away, he had to pay for her.   And that’s not offensive?      That’s no different than the slavery that so many people are screaming about these days.   Why isn’t everyone screaming about that too?   All wives were subjected to it then, are they not offended by that?  Nope.   They’ve turned the tables and using it to their own advantage now.    Not so much as before, but it’s still being done.

I don’t see any marches, or statues being torn down.

Remember the huge scandal when Colin Kapernick refused to stand for the National Anthem?    Oh My GOD!  What horror!  People on both sides of this one were outraged.  Fans swore off watching any games until the NFL forced compliance.  On the other hand, there were those who defended it as freedom of speech.

Wait… a… minute.

Isn’t protesting a protest entitled to the same freedom of speech?   So Kapernick decided to make a statement.   (Personally, I think it was a silly statement, but that’s not important) Where it went haywire is when protesters started protesting the protesters who were using the rights they were protesting against.  (Follow all that?)

Com’on people.  Use some common sense.

But when is the last time you saw anything about this in the headlines?  Or Black, Blue, or Red Lives Matter?  In fact, you rarely even see anything about statue protests these days.

It’s the crisis de jure.

I think that the real purpose of protesting, is the protest itself, not the issue.  And the end result is that people are afraid of everything.  If something is determined to be offensive, they can be the target of a witch hunt, with devastating consequences.   People have lost jobs, careers, their families and fortunes.   Some have even lost their very freedom, landing in jail because someone decides their behavior is (Or was in the past) offensive.  I for one wouldn’t dare say anything to a woman at work that referenced anything but work-related subjects.   And I’d better be damn careful about that too.   Imply that someone isn’t up to a task, and that person is in a ‘protected group’.  “Are you saying I can’t do this job because I’m black?” (Or a woman, or handicapped, or left handed; whatever).  No, I’m saying you can’t do the job because you’re not qualified, or just a downright idiot.  Color, race, gender, sexual orientation, hairstyle or choice of clothing have nothing to do with it.  But that better not be said out loud!

As an American, I have the right to say, or believe whatever I want to.  If you don’t like the fact that I stand for our anthem and salute our flag, then keep sitting there.  You don’t like my political beliefs, or who I support?   Then support your own.  If my language offends you, then don’t listen.   Just carry on, and let me be me, and I’ll let you be you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to stop by HR.

Silent sam

 

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