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Sometimes, being offended is a choice 26 April 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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Political correctness has been around for as long as I can remember, with people censoring what they themselves and others say in order to not offend.

And, being a human being, I can understand that you do not wish to offend others. It’s part of belonging, isn’t it – I don’t offend you and you don’t offend me, and we will get on and therefore I will feel safe and secure. And so will you.

Not wanting to offend people purposely is, I believe, showing empathy. It shows that you have the insight to know that being offended is not a very nice feeling.

If we were to live in a homogenous society, where everyone believed in the same god, the same values, the same political choices and economic management, it would also be easy never to offend others. Because you would never have opinions that differed with theirs.

But a homogenous society is hard to come by in this globalised world. There are multitudes of religious, political and economic views.

And we tend to hold those views, because we tend to believe them to be right. If you thought your views of the world were wrong, you would change them, wouldn’t you?

So people are going to disagree. There is going to be differences of opinions.

As human beings, we surround ourselves with people. We live with others, interact and work with others, and socialise with other human beings.

And although you might be wonderfully attuned to your surroundings, your opinions may be different and they may offend. And frankly – so be it!

Because if you, as a person, have taken your surroundings into account and haven’t gone out of your way to offend someone on purpose, then you can’t help it that you may have offended someone.

Let me explain that one with an example. Say you are a passifist, and your country chooses to go to war. You have every right to hold the opinion that your country should not be fighting a war.

Taking your surroundings (and other people) into account means that you do not picket a dead soldier’s funeral, you are attuned enough to understand that the grieving family of the soldier might take offense. I would say that self-censoring your actions in this manner is human, reasonable and mature.

Yet when you take your view to your politicians, the ones that chose to send soldiers to war, while discussing with them, they say they are ‘offended’ that you should not support freedom… Well, that’s their choice.

You can’t control someone else’s offence. Simply saying you are offended these days is apparently a reasonable argument to get your opposition to back off. The fear of offending people is crippling people trying to implement policy. Even people that are trying to do good.

I think it is fine to moderate how you say something, but you do not necessarily always have to moderate saying it at all.

Because sometimes, being offended is a choice.

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