The culture of being offended

January 21, 2016

in Confessions

It seems like everywhere I look these days, people are offended by something.
 
People are offended by anything that doesn’t support their life view. They are offended by other religions. They are offended by food offered in school cafeterias. They are offended by what other people look like. They are offended by sports team names, people in commercials, red cups.
 
Having spent over a decade in academia, both as a student and as a professor, I was taught that a difference of opinion is an opportunity for discussion. It is an opportunity to present alternate viewpoints and to hear the points of the other side. Opposing opinions were good. Sometimes the discussions got heated, but never to the point of name-calling or insult slinging.
 
Today that’s all I see. I see that in one room people are offended if you speak badly of the President, and in the next people are offended if you don’t. I see people who want to ban entire religions and groups of people based on race. I see college students who need to be defended from words. I see people who threaten and commit acts violence because they are offended. I see people who are afraid of words and ideas.
 
When did disagree and compromise become bad words?
 
When did we become so narrow-minded that we stopped seeing the people around us as human?
 
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When did our right to free speech become reduced to something people are afraid of and something to mock people for?
 
Honestly, I don't have the answers to these questions. If you do, or have suggestions, opinions, or anything, join the conversation by leaving a comment.
 
Bill Bullard said, “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”
 
As a culture, we need to move away from thinking the world rotates around us and our beliefs and feelings. We need to quit being offended and start being educated. We need to embrace compromise and accept that it’s okay to disagree.
 
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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

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