I've met very few people who go out of their way to be offended, but I have met plenty of people who go out of their way to use offensive words that they know will provoke and then pull a wide-eyed faux-innocent 'but I didn't mean anything bad by it'. Being offended is not fun. Believe me, I derive no pleasure from it. It just hurts.

Yes, it's to some extent possible to train oneself out of the more immediate or visceral reactions to hurtful words, but why should that be the main solution? That people who have already been hurt be forced to change and reinforce themselves so that other more fortunate people be allowed to speak without consideration?

(Also, you assume it's not already being done. Society will always be full of inconsiderate people who think only of their own convenience, training oneself not to react every time is just plain self-preservation, but learning to survive doesn't mean I think we should strive for a society that caters to inconsideration.)

(And secondly, there's a huge difference between a word like "magpie" that is being used for someone personally, and words that have been used towards specific minorities in combination with physical abuse and murder. Using a homophobic slur carries with it all the hurt that has been done to gay people throughout history and is still being done. It makes me think 'is it unsafe for me to be alone with this person?')

Thinking twice so as to do one's best not to offend takes very little time or energy on the part of the speaker, unlearning a response that have come out of people deliberately wanting to hurt you can take a really long time and be a very painful process, if you succeed at all. Not everyone does. Why would you want to keep hurting people when you don't have to?


Edited by Zee (05/08/13 05:08 AM)