Is This Offensive? Let’s Talk.

dideeye

I’ve noticed that, especially in the last few years, the “go-to” attack from assholes, especially those who want to validate racist, misogynistic, homophobic and otherwise horrible things that come out of their mouth (or keyboards) is that people “look for things to be offended by”.

“Hey, sure…I just willfully said something to marginalize or otherwise demean your entire gender, sexual orientation, or skin color…but suck it up! I’m a hateful waste of carbon!  Hurray!”

Alright, dick…while your hateful rhetoric and subsequent projection that we’re the “pansies” is super adorable, it doesn’t actually change the fact that you’re a horrible fucking person.

But there are times where I have to wonder if some of that is true:

That there are some people who are just LOOKING to be offended.

Actually, please let me rephrase that. I don’t “have to wonder”.

More accurately…I have to marvel at the fact that there are actually those people out there.  Dear lord, I’m talking about the folks who can be rolling along, and if someone phrases something a way they don’t like, they lose their fucking mind.

Even if there was zero malice intended, even if that offending person historically demonstrative in a way that is “acceptable”, they will take a snippet of something they say and lose their shit in an epic manner, and no clarifying in the world will change their mind that this person is now, in fact, the goddamn devil.

DID YOU HEAR WHAT THEY SAID? BURN THEM!!!!

Maybe it’s because they belong to a category of human beings that are so regularly shit on – as a woman, I identify with that – that they actually do comb every sentence for offense, even where no offense was meant and that no offense is even actually SEEN by other reasonable members of said category of shit-on human.

And sometimes, it’s not even a misspeak – it’s something that, if you actually listened to the words that were said and weren’t on “high alert to be fucking pissed off and offended and go on the attack because everyone is clearly horrible and waiting to upset you”, you’d actually know that what they said wasn’t even…well, for lack of better words, bad.

It wasn’t offensive, sweetheart. You were offended.

Those two aren’t always mutually exclusive. We’ve all been on the internet, it’s chock full of basement-dwelling, hateful shits that live to upset other people.  Racist shitbags, willfully insensitive dregs who rationalize fully insensitive behavior because they think you should lighten up, etc. Because, since they can’t empathize with folks who are hurt by certain language or behaviors, it’s “totally not a thing”.

But sometimes…it really is just you.

Or, often enough, at least partially you.

Instead of looking for the context (it fucking matters more often than you might think), the intent (I don’t care what you say, it fucking matters, but this is in no way giving a pass to bigots who use that as their “you should be thicker skinned” battle cry), and that person’s past actual behavior…

You are, instead, hopelessly offended, angry, and seething.  SEEEEETHING.

How exhausting that must be for you! To sit there and assume that everyone is out to get you or a section of society that you, as a sensitive human may feel protective of.

Dude, personally, I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t be constantly angry and in a perpetually offended state of being because “I heard a thing” and went into a tailspin.

Just like how, when I read a news-story or opinion piece that someone posts, I don’t automatically assume that story is factual without vetting it and looking at context, trying to figure out what is actually “going on”. EVEN WHEN a story, for all intents and purposes, totally supports my way of thinking.

Because to automatically assume that, for instance, “this politician here” said or did “this horrible fucking thing” – even if my believe is that yup, that sounds like something that person would do or say – without verifying whether or not it’s factual is…well, it’s fucking stupid.  And sets me up to look fucking stupid.

“Well, you clearly don’t understand or appreciate why what they said is unacceptable or you wouldn’t be defending them.”

Sure, ok. That’s why I’m not pissed off that someone fumbled over a sentence or asked a serious question because they just don’t fucking get it (but actually wants to?  How refreshing). It’s because I don’t understand words. But you’ve lost your fucking mind over it because you’re enlightened and clearly a better person than I am.

Got it.

Seriously, please don’t mistake my desire for meaning as defending a possible stupid or shitty statement.  I will verbally blow up your world if you’re purposely hateful.

But as a human being, I have, on ENTIRELY too many occasions, totally misspoke. Holy shit, have I ever. And I’ve also phrased things in such a way that, if you’re not paying attention to the big picture, may lend an incorrect impression as to how I feel about things. I know what my feet taste like.

I’ve also been ignorant of different societal issues due to lack of exposure to them, which is a far cry from willful ignorance, but I’ve had people respond with wild-eyed incredulity when I wasn’t aware of this thing or that…that, as someone outside, for instance, a certain community…why would I inherently KNOW this?  But now I do, thank you person with perspective for taking the time to educate me, wasn’t that cool, I learned a thing.

As a human being with, I GUESS we could call it empathy for people who say stupid shit on occasion – and the lack of a kneejerk reaction to be horrified by every single thing that isn’t in line with my way of thinking – I don’t immediately grab my handy pitchfork and torch when someone says something that makes me cock my head a little.

In FACT…I don’t even keep them nearby.

I mean the pitchfork and torch are available. If I really need them. Probably in the garage somewhere next to the kayak or the cat skull I swiped from a shelf in a bar.

But, until they’re needed, why not have a conversation? Why not, if you’re talking to someone who seriously has no clue that something they’re saying or asking is off-putting, take a minute to communicate like an adult?

“It’s not my job to educate you.”

Whose job is it then? Is that an actual job out there? Do some people just miss the “training seminar” and they’re fucked and doomed to keep pissing you off forever because it’s not your fucking job?

How can you be angry at someone for not knowing something when it’s clearly not willful ignorance but, rather, lack of exposure to <insert thing here>?

Really. Someone who says something that, if you’re not actually paying attention to context and intent, sounds a bit ridiculous…until you realize that, oh…shit, maybe they just literally have no idea that they sound like a dolt…tiring, yes.  But if you don’t try to correct it, they’re going to be someone else’s burden/nightmare.

It’s like, and I have used this analogy a few times when super irritated with someone but later realizing they can’t fucking help what their damage is, being mad at a puppy for peeing on your floor.

“As a <insert beaten down by assholes category of human here>,it’s not my job to educate you, and I shouldn’t be expected to.”

I can appreciate that. I can. Maybe you’ve been through some shit and you don’t bounce back as well as others. I fucking get that. I’ve had some really annoying (and upsetting) conversations with people that, because of their religious upbringing or lifelong peer group, they truly have a hard time grasping what I THINK should be simple concepts of civility.

But I want them to. Because I think, overall, it’s helpful. To pretty much everyone.

To me?  Again, I’m not wired to be upset by someone breathing the wrong way. Or tripping over their words and sounding like a jackass when they honestly just didn’t know that they were sounding like a jackass.  Though it would be nice to have fewer unwitting jackasses flapping their lips, so maybe that’s why I feel like maybe taking a minute or two to have a conversation. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, but I still try.

Honestly, if you would prefer to live your life expecting to be pissed off all the time – rather than take a deep breath and have a conversation – that’s on you a little bit. And, quite often, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I’m not saying you’re part of the problem, but you’re not doing much to help the situation either.
I hope that doesn’t offend you.

We can talk if it does.  I might still pee on your floor.

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