Here’s why I don’t get this tendency a lot of people have… someone does something that pisses them off and they don’t see them as an individual. As a representative of humanity as a whole. They tend to be pigeonholed as “goddamn <insert racial slur here> or “goddamn <men/women/gender insult here>” rather than just as a generic human asshole. If you call someone an asshole, other assholes don’t rise up to defend them. Okay, depending on what KIND of asshole they are. But people don’t self-identify as assholes and rise to defend other assholes.
If you’re looking at other people and thinking “They’re that way because they’re black, jewish, british, korean, etc…” you’re really missing the point. They’re that way because they’re HUMAN. Oh, sure, there’s some cultural oddities you occasionally encounter, but that’s usually with more recent immigrants. “No, sir, we are not allowed to haggle with customers. That’s not how things work here.”
There’s this backlash against this “PC Police” stuff on campus. Listen, if you call a girl a “slut,” you’re going to piss off a bunch of self-identified “sluts” or anti-slut shamers. Feminists who think you’re commenting on THEIR sexuality. If you call a transgendered person a “trannie” you’re going to piss off a good portion of THAT community and their friends. I talk about emotionally charged things all the time and I tend to do it without offending people in GENERAL. I don’t have a bunch of people of a particular mindset swarming all over me because of accidentally offended their sensibilities. Usually if someone’s pissed at me it’s because I’ve PERSONALLY offended them, and it’s usually because they’ve offended me.
Does it sometimes make communication a bit of a delicate dance? Well, yes. But communication is supposed to be precise. Our communications should be to be well-considered, especially in this era of permanence. Your “off-hand statement” isn’t really all that casual. It’s not going to simply disappear from everyone’s consciousness. It’s on the internet, which, as long as we don’t crash civilization, is as close to permanent as we can imagine right now.
Language is next to worthless if we treat it as some slack-jawed messenger that gets the job done even if he has to ride down a couple of kids in the street. Words have power. Immense psychological power. They can be used to build or destroy, and sometimes our assumptions of which is which can get confused. And when people decide to start defining terms to suit themselves, to act as though “language is fluid” is an excuse for changing definitions on the fly, it gets even worse.
For example. When was the last time you heard someone in RW media refer to a white person as a “thug?”
That’s not coincidence. These people understand language. I do believe that their think-tanks and media groups use the data mined from several propaganda heavy autocratic regimes, nearly a hundred years of advertising, and every other public relations and psychological bit of mind-feckery they can delve into, to craft messages that are calculated to bypass the rational minds of a great many American adults. And of course this reinforces itself because they’re told that these specific outlets are the only people they can trust for information.
These are the same people who scream their “free speech” is being abrogated because they can’t walk up to a gay person and say “You know you’re going to hell, right?”
And it’s not as though they’re swarmed and beaten, or thrown in jail, or waterboarded, or anything else. Instead, they’re publicly castigated. By other people using THEIR right of free speech.
“You don’t have a right not to be offended.” No. But you also don’t have a right to tell people you offend to shut up.