Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Quit monkeying around

This story has been all over the radio the last couple of days. The thumbnail version is a guy made a remark that COULD have been construed as racially insensitive (so naturally it was) at a company Christmas party. When he realized it was taken as a racial statement, he immediately apologized. I guess when you've been offended and your brother is a state Senator, that's not enough, so now the guy's been fired.

I'm trying to remember when it was that we decided as a society that the worst thing you could do was offend somebody. We've been headed in that direction for quite a while, but I think it really started to take off about the time of the Clarence Thomas hearings.

There are a couple of unintended consequences for trying to avoid offending anyone. One is that we're losing the capacity to even TALK about some subjects (affirmative action, homosexuality, and slavery come to mind) for fear of someone twisting our words around to claim we have offended them. That's double plus un-good.

Secondly, we have turned over the power in our society to whoever is the most easily offended. In the world of Spiderman, 'with great power comes great responsibility' is the rule. In our world, it's more like 'with great power comes no responsibility'. Don't like the outcome of something? Claim racism, prejudice, bias or insensitivity and watch people jump through hoops to get you to shut up. Take no responsibility for your own actions or your own destiny, it's ALWAYS someone else's fault. We have conditioned people to be offended at the slightest provocation because that's how you gain power. Once you are offended, you can control the outcome of any situation. The offenders are always BAD and the offended always GOOD. Which side do YOU want to be on?

So, instead of building a society of strong people who can handle a little adversity, we are building a nation of hyper-sensitive wusses. Gone are the days when the retort to something offensive was, "Same to ya, buddy!" Now the response is, "I'm telling." Bunch of wimps.

Sorry if that hurts your feelings. Deal with it.

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