They say the best defense is a good offense. Too bad I don’t make a point of being offensive.
My dad and I were talking about political correctness. The topic came up after we watched a clip from a stand up routine online. The comedian pointed out that what offends people is subjective according to the individual or the group. My dad suggested we could collaborate on a post together tackling this ever occurring issue. When we sat down to gather our thoughts we became weighed down by all the material. How could we cover all of it? What I write is the result of much thought and only a sliver of my observations.
Gold is better than silver. Why? Who decided that? They are both just inert hunks of metal that serve no purpose other than to be looked at. Is gold more valuable simply because it has a unique color among all metals? Or is silver less valuable simply because it is more prevalent and therefore common? Personally, I think silver is pretty special. It doesn’t need all the characteristics of gold to be valuable.
The worth people have is called esteem. We compare ourselves to one another and decide among all the similarities and differences which ones become the standard of measurement for value. Most people think slim is better than fat and smart is better than stupid. To embody the traits deemed lesser leads to being honored less.
Self-esteem is about how we measure our own personal worth. This measurement should never be given to other people. You must be the one to determine how you measure your own worth. Relying on society for a sense of self-worth means you live solely for the opinions of strangers.
Physical harm threatens our well-being. We become afraid when we have something to lose whether it is our safety or property. So what does an offensive comment threaten? How do the opinions of others affect us?
I asked a number of people about this. The conversation mostly revolved around politics, racism, and feminism. Some of them were offended by the fact certain groups get offended by specific issues. I couldn’t get an answer from them about why people get offended. I had to rely on my own understanding and learning.
Everyone has an opinion on how things are supposed to play out. Unspoken rules are given to us based on the expectations of the society we live in. These rules extend from what we wear and how we eat to how we conduct our lives and how we think. When we fail to meet these expectations the response can sometimes be disappointment, disgust, or even aggression. The offense comes from threatening what people consider to be important.
I want to increase in value. I do this by living according to the standard set by generations of people before me. Each of us contributes to what is considered valuable in a society. Honors and special treatment have their place in the world. The trick is to not get carried away by it.
A group I belong to is of people who have a diagnosis of autism. This fact helps me to understand people who become labelled only for being different. It offends me when people look down on me or anyone else for having a behavioral disorder. However, my pride in this group only goes so far. It is foolish for someone to want to be autistic.
I know my opinion is offensive to people. I’ll try to make my point more clear so they at least know what they are mad about. Imagine if my expectations for the autistic were like other groups. “We need to have more autistic people be the lead characters in action movies. Fifty percent of Congress should be autistic to make it fair. I look forward to voting for the first openly autistic President of the United States.” What good is pride if your priorities are skewed?
Does anyone know what equality actually looks like? Every time a new group forms we have to figure out the little unspoken rules all over again. It’s a learning process and it never ends. People need to remember that society can’t develop instantaneously any more than an individual can.
I’ve seen people try to enforce equality by tearing down others. I’ve known people to cry foul for not receiving what they believe they deserve simply for being a member of a group. This skewed sense of priority causes people like me to be mistreated simply for being in a different group as others.
Equality doesn’t come because you asked for it. And you can’t force people to embody it. Equality comes when people finally live according to their worth. I confidently live my life being fully aware of my value. Some people may measure my worth as being little and some may measure it to be great. Either way doesn’t matter to me. The worth of a soul can never be measured.
This is my observation. If this offends you, I can live with that.