Saturday, November 20

What is Offensive

Someone said something to me the other day (right here, actually, in a reply to another post) and... well....

The statement is:

"If we all expand our minds then "offensive" things don't actually exist, they are justifications and crutches."

At first blush it seems like a great statement.

But then I wondered, is that what Philip Greaves said when thousands of people threatened to boycott Amazon over his Pedophiles Guild to Love and Pleasure?  It's not offensive, 'offensive' is just a crutch.

By the logic that no things are offensive, so long as we are open minded, than racial slurs are ok.  Sexist comments are ok.  Someone getting up on a soapbox and saying that homosexuals should be executed... well, it's not offensive, no one should be bothered by it.  I suppose that even kiddie porn is ok, or at least no longer offensive.

I would like--no, I would love--to live in a world where everyone is open minded enough to accept everyone else's ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.  But we don't.  Until we do, I don't see any particular problem with being "offended" when someone tells me that I can't marry a woman because someone's religion says that marriage is strictly for a man and a woman.  I don't think there's anything wrong with being offended by terms like (please pardon the following) "nigger", "towel head", "camel jockey", or... gosh, this shows how up on things like this I am, those are all the racial slurs I can think of.  I'm sure more exist.  But I'll bet somebody out there finds even this meager list offensive.  That's because we know that "racism" is wrong--heck even the word "racism" is wrong!  There is only one race, the human race.  (Check out the vid. I posted a month or so back, Edward James Olmos addressing the United Nations.)

I don't think it's an especially bad thing to be offended by things that are... well... offensive.   And yes, I realize that 'offensive' is incredibly subjective.  I don't find steamy boy on boy sex offensive--I happen to find it pretty hot.  I would be offended if it turned up in my kid's middle school library.  I would even be unhappy if it showed up in my public library anywhere were kids could get their hands on it.  I'm know that there are some people who are offended merely by its existence--that's ok, they have a right to be offended.  They also have the right not to read it.  I'm not forcing steamy boy on boy sex off on anyone.  And I suppose, in fairness, Mr. Greaves wasn't actually forcing his book on anyone either... but I find a guide on how to get away with pedophilia pretty dang offensive.  I'm not alone.  Lots of people were offended by that one.

I'm a huge fan of the old saying about sticks and stones, but the truth is that words *can* hurt.  They do hurt.  To suggest that we shouldn't be offended by hurtful words and actions is to suggest that we should simply let the other guy say whatever he wants to and hope it goes away all on its own.  How many of us think that's going to happen?

So I will continue to be offended by the idea the pedophilia is ok.  I will continue to be offended by the idea that homophobia is ok--I will be just as offended when someone comes into my home and disrespects me or tries to insult my intelligence.   And I will, though it's hard, respect the rights of those who are offended by homosexuality and just do my darnedest to educate the next generation in the most respectful way I know how.

1 comment:

kitsa said...

Pretty much, I mean it is an awkward question but it is like freedom, your right to throw a punch ends at my face, so you have the right to say it, but I certainly have the right to be offended. There are also gradiations. If I don't want to read m/m sex, then I won't but I am not going to tell anyone else they can't. I would like them to give me the same courtesy.