Seems to be where we are in America today. Somewhere along the line, we bothered listening to someone who said that they were offended – now they are running with it. You can’t give an inch to a small mind, it’ll take a mile.
America has now been characterized by a social environment whereby if you don’t want to hear other opinions, you simply use the words “offended, racist, sexist, triggered, micro-aggression, etc.” and let the mob of social crusaders shame and condemn and call for that person’s termination, boycott or resignation. Of course, throw in some brainwashing or indoctrination…I mean, sensitivity training.
Whether what that person is saying is true or not is irrelevant. Most often these social crusaders, virtue-signalers and social justice warriors pick soft targets, e.g. co-workers, acquaintances, celebrities or the wrong targets altogether and avoid tackling the REAL bigots doing actual damage. “Real” damage is a post on the internet, a comment that puts boo-boos on feelings, or a Tweet!
In reality, anyone with perspective can see that a Tweet or comment on a social media platform is about as inane, superficial, and meaningless as it gets. Things are relative to a point: life is hard, but if you define it as realizing you poured cereal into a bowl and have no milk, then you’ve lost the plot…on life. Same goes for getting upset over a post, comment or Tweet. Each hour, hundreds of starving children across the planet die from starvation, and millions more haven’t eaten in days and you are complaining about a comment?
Yes, lost the plot on life. Get a grip.
Just as bad as losing perspective, is that when people get triggered by hearing other opinions and declare someone to be a sexist, racist, literally Hitler – take your pick of creative nonsense – accuracy is never important. Is the person actually a racist? Doesn’t matter. Did they even say anything racist? Doesn’t matter. Are we discussing whether to have a pothole fixed? Doesn’t matter, if you disagree it’s racist.
Anyone who has read any history will recall that this is exactly the thought process used during the Salem Witch Trials. Don’t have evidence? Who cares, the accusation is enough. Did someone make you mad? They’re a witch! Have them cast out of the village, flogged, or burned at the stake – yesterday’s versions of being sacked, cast out of the village, boycotting, or forcing people to resign. Are we still in the 1690s? Looks like there are certainly some people who have a mindset that is 17th century.
The logical conclusion to this mindset and behavior of shooing away opinions would be the end of free speech and a nation with one agreeable, shared opinion and repeats of the Salem Witch Trials. That’s scary.
People worry about many things that they feel are threats: Russia, China, radical Islam, nuclear war, the KKK, guns, et al but the above is a bigger threat to our country than all of them combined. Among the list of evils – perhaps right at the top – is the thought “I am right, you are wrong.” Right nearby is “I’m doing good.” Hitler, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, and many others thought they were doing good, too. So didn’t the Puritans of Salem.
An environment where people are afraid to speak hinders or destroys artistic, scientific, and cultural progress and can even lead to injury or even death in its extreme. We see that born out daily.
If you want to fly a rebel flag, even an ISIS flag. Go ahead. I’ll fight for your freedom to do that. But we’ll have a pretty heated debate about why I disagree with you. If you don’t take it down, I’ll mark you as an as*hole in my mind – but I won’t run to Facebook and start a social crusade, or call your boss to have you fired. That’s immature and childish and makes me as much of an as**ole as you are. Social crusading is a social defect in the same category as racism, sexism, etc. It’s a BLIGHT.
How else will a person learn a correct view? People seem to be very confused about this. They think “How you get someone to realize a correct view is you get them fired, you punish them, or even ‘punch that Nazi!'” That isn’t how you get someone back on track. By pushing someone away, pushing the “Nazis” into hiding, by punishing them you make them even more radical. You can’t destroy an idea by punishing the body, or a destroying a person’s job – you can only dissolve that idea, the incorrect view.
Darkness does not illuminate darkness, only light illuminate darkness. You have to discuss, share your opinion and thoughts. There is no other way. To do that you have to actually possess tolerance and not just hashtag it or pay lip service. Tolerance is not exclusive. Compassion is not exclusive. When you accept someone, even a neo-Nazi and extend compassion to them, they will listen to you. They certainly will NOT listen if you turn them into a demon, ostracize them or cast them out. They won’t listen if you call them Hitler. Shoo a radical into a corner, and you just made him more radical – you just contributed, making you an accomplice to his ideology. In the past, people burned books – today, people “burn” the opinions of others. Hitler loved burning books and the opinions of others. Don’t be like Hitler.
By bringing them into your fold, including them, you can reach them. This ends up pulling that person away from the fringes and extremes and more towards the middle. So, when you call someone a racist, sexist or literally Hitler you push them away into further radicalization.
We are not either Republican or Democrat, anti-immigration or pro-immigration, anti-abortion or pro-choice, atheist or believer – we are human beings with a diversity of views. We are not those views. We are human beings first, the labels and ideas come after. Taking a person to be their label first is a form of ignorance and strips them of their humanity thereby allowing us to be mean-spirited and hateful. Worst of all it gives us excuses to justify our bad behavior.
We need to stop caring when a person says they’re offended. Stop giving them power. Let them express their opinion and point of view like an adult – we can discourse and work through it TOGETHER – it’s not about your opinion and your opinion ONLY.
Next time someone says that they are offended, do not apologize. Tell them “Stop trying to silence me.” Because that is EXACTLY what they are trying to do. They don’t get special rights because they are offended. Their opinion isn’t MORE important – that’s arrogance. That’s narcissism.
OUR opinions are more important.