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The dangerous, divisive effect of being offended

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
I genuinely didn't know that "coloured" is now perceived to be pejorative.

Is "black" OK? If not, what is the "correct" term to refer to people of African origin?
African?
 

Penfold

Clanker
I'm inclined to the view that society and etiquette have fragmented to such a degree that it is almost impossible to 'shock' UK society in general by one's sexual orientation, beliefs or lifestyle. So one has to push further and harder to get that 'look at me' moment that some folk crave.
The LGBT++ lot realised that years ago, that is why they put the + on the end. Without it they would have more letters than that tourist trap on Anglesey. They realised just how bloody stupid they would look without it.
 
Which gets to the heart of the issue.

A word is either offensive or it isn’t offensive.
That is patently not the case, we can use self-referential terms all the time and not be offensive because we are not offending ourselves but which if used against us in an insulting manner we would find hugely offensive.

Let us remove the racial element to see if you think a word is either offensive or it is not, regardless of context.

Imagine you are chatting to your elderly mum and she mentions losing her keys or glasses or something and she says something like "Oh dear, I am such a stupid old woman sometimes, I really am".

You'd give your mum a hug and assure her she is nothing of the sort. Now 10 minutes later you are walking down the street and your mum bumps into someone without paying attention and the person, let us say an aggressive young man, snarls "Oh dear, you are such a stupid old woman, you really are!"

Not offensive? You wouldn't give him a hug would you? You'd punch his lights out.

Context absolutely is everything.
 

WightMivvi

Old-Salt
That is patently not the case, we can use self-referential terms all the time and not be offensive because we are not offending ourselves but which if used against us in an insulting manner we would find hugely offensive.

Let us remove the racial element to see if you think a word is either offensive or it is not, regardless of context.

Imagine you are chatting to your elderly mum and she mentions losing her keys or glasses or something and she says something like "Oh dear, I am such a stupid old woman sometimes, I really am".

You'd give your mum a hug and assure her she is nothing of the sort. Now 10 minutes later you are walking down the street and your mum bumps into someone without paying attention and the person, let us say an aggressive young man, snarls "Oh dear, you are such a stupid old woman, you really are!"

Not offensive? You wouldn't give him a hug would you? You'd punch his lights out.

Context absolutely is everything.
The problem is, how do you legislate the offence?

For example, a loved one could use the phrase “silly old woman” to express amusement that she had misplaced her glasses, or to express anger at not getting money from her for drugs, or beating her into a pulp because the gravy is too thin.

Then there is the problem of how the recipient feels at the time. She may accept being called a silly old woman one day but not the next. We all have days when we know we’re stupid but are chilled about it, whilst on another “stupid” day, we’re really quite annoyed by it.

Then throw in our perceptions about the motivation of the other party. We may be seeing offence where none is intended. That is a problem with our prejudice, not theirs. Why should they be punished because we have imperfect judgement.

Therefore, it’s impossible to fairly legislate the infinite variables that lead to offence. The only logical solution (to me) is a binary right or wrong.
 

Chef

LE
The problem is, how do you legislate the offence?

For example, a loved one could use the phrase “silly old woman” to express amusement that she had misplaced her glasses, or to express anger at not getting money from her for drugs, or beating her into a pulp because the gravy is too thin.

Then there is the problem of how the recipient feels at the time. She may accept being called a silly old woman one day but not the next. We all have days when we know we’re stupid but are chilled about it, whilst on another “stupid” day, we’re really quite annoyed by it.

Then throw in our perceptions about the motivation of the other party. We may be seeing offence where none is intended. That is a problem with our prejudice, not theirs. Why should they be punished because we have imperfect judgement.

Therefore, it’s impossible to fairly legislate the infinite variables that lead to offence. The only logical solution (to me) is a binary right or wrong.

Therein lies the problem or intent, depending on how you look at it, of the laws introduced under Mr Blair, I think, whereby an offence is deemed to have occurred if a third party is offended so the 'Silly old woman' statement could be an offence if somebody walking by says they are offended by it.

In most totalitarian states people will glance around before saying anything that may be deemed at odds with the state's diktats I believe the Germans called it the 'Gestapo look' to make sure nobody could overhear any risky statement.

The same thing seems to be happening in the UK along with prefacing, with a disclaimer, any possible conversation which might 'offend' a third party.

'I'm no racist but the Pakistan team were s*it at Lords yesterday'

'Some of my best friends are gay but Graham Norton's last funny moment was in Father Ted twenty two years ago.'

A lot of people will say that the above phrases are always indicative of a phobic comment of one sort or another but I'd say that it's more akin to avoiding accusations of wrongthink.
 

SWJ99

War Hero
I went on a person centred / humanistic counselling course many years ago, and it was partly based on the teachings of Carl Rogers. I could tell that one of the tutors wasn't his biggest fan because she used to refer to his work as 'Death By Rogers'. Anyway, one of the principles of counselling is the concept of ownership of experience. For example, I could read all the utter **** that passes for news on the telly these days and say it offends me. But based on the humanistic approach, it would be more accurate for me to own that experience, and say, "When I watch the tv news, I feel offended !" It's a subtle but imporant difference. In the first example, I am attributing power over my emotions to a tv channel, which is of course, completely insane. In the second example, I'm taking responsibility for my emotions and simply stating the fact that I feel offended. I should also add that I have a choice. I can choose to feel offended, or indifferent, or amused, or shocked, or any one of a dozen other things that a person is capable of feeling.

Try challenging the next person who says you have made them feel bad, or offended, or whatever shit they are trying to foist on you. Just ask them something like, "Would you like to own that statement ?"
Most people won't know what the fuck you're on about, so then you can go on to explain it in fuckwitt terms for them, and say, "What would it be like for you to take responsibility for your own emotions and issues ?"
When people say I have made them "feel" (any type of emotion) my view is that I haven't got the power to take over another person's emotions and programme them as I see fit. I wish I did have a power like that, I bet I could make a bloody fortune out of it.
 
True story. One of my nurse tutors, a Welsh speaker, used to call everyone 'cariad' (pronounced in our local dialect like /kuryud/ - the u being as in English 'but'). As a ward sister, she greeted a Sikh doctor as such, and an investigation was launched into why she'd called him "curry head"!
 
Thinking on...

Who is the arbiter deciding which words are now acceptable?

As mentioned, I had no idea that "coloured" was no longer an acceptable term - and I doubt that I'm alone in this.

I'd expect that even within the same demographic / self identified group, some will view a certain word as acceptable, some will view it otherwise.

The rush to take offence is IMO a form of passive aggressive behaviour and it is deemed unacceptable to challenge someone who decides to take offence - even if that is done vicariously, as happened to Gregg Clarke.

As soon as "that's offensive" is uttered, its extremely difficult to challenge.
 

Sana

Old-Salt
Thinking on...

Who is the arbiter deciding which words are now acceptable?

As mentioned, I had no idea that "coloured" was no longer an acceptable term - and I doubt that I'm alone in this.

I'd expect that even within the same demographic / self identified group, some will view a certain word as acceptable, some will view it otherwise.

The rush to take offence is IMO a form of passive aggressive behaviour and it is deemed unacceptable to challenge someone who decides to take offence - even if that is done vicariously, as happened to Gregg Clarke.

As soon as "that's offensive" is uttered, its extremely difficult to challenge.

It encourages control and not being able to voice your opinion. This divides people even more.
 
A 'person of colour' also includes the colour 'white'. Always use the former term, particularly when witnessing any crime, completing a census, or applying for a job.
Black and white are not colours according to my art teacher many years ago ,its all very confusing , I`m glad I dont give a fcuk if I offend people.
 
Remember the term “half caste“? That was used quite often once until suddenly it became an interview without coffee offence.
The way I got good descriptions down on paper was always put as, and the victim/witness described the suspect as, and I quote “.White male”:p
That was nearly two decades ago now, been offended isn’t new,it’s a bloody pass time for some folk.
It just shows what total bollox it all is , two words half caste and mixed race (I guess I can say that ?)are just two words , half caste to me says African / white European mix where as mixed race could mean any mix .
 
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Mon Capitain, I was informed that, having (innocently) used the term "half caste" a couple of years ago, the current mots du jour were "mixed race" - I think.

I've also seen "dual heritage" which is IMO actually a pretty good term - it implies inclusion, taking the best from each ancestry.

First heard it from a (white) lady who was married to a black guy - she did express delight when I referred to him online as a "massive black guy"

RIP Mickey Allagoa. B*stard cancer.
 
As these terms for races and suchlike keep on changing. Without warning. A good bite-back would be to demand to your accuser why they didn't inform you of this change earlier, instead of allowing you to trip up like this. Acceptable behaviour in my eyes includes gripping them by the throat, and telling them they are the Nazi. Asking them why they don't just piss on Stephen Lawrence's grave and be done with. A compulsory invite to accompany you to invade and disturb a nearby Blood & Honour gig will make them back down - big style.

Woke snowflakes are all mouth, and have a tendency to run to the nearest copper, (whom they were earlier campaigning to defund). They all have a history of being the school snitch and tell-tale.
Puts it well.
 
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