I recently watched this video by Seth Andrews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQJymMD1zRM. In it he discusses the idea of offense, namely where religion is concerned. I decided to use the video on a post about what offends me. Personally, I don’t think offending people is an inherently bad thing. Everybody gets offended, and everything probably offends someone. However, I do not agree with people who go out of their way to offend others for no other reason to cause offense. A lot of people complain that we have become “too PC,” and I don’t entirely disagree with that. However, a number of the people who make this claim turn around and act offensive for no other reason that to act offensively (or possibly to complain about people being too PC). So let’s talk about offense.
I’m offended by people who feel they have the right to walk up to me in the street and criticize my wardrobe. If you don’t like what I’m wearing, don’t wear it, but don’t tell me how to dress.
I’m offended by people telling me that I’m confused and don’t understand when I make it clear that I don’t agree with them. My not agreeing with you does not mean that I’m confused, it means that I don’t agree. Can we get passed this patronizing bullshit and have an actual conversation? Maybe then we’ll both learn something.
I’m offended when people make assumptions about my gender without asking me, and I’m offended when people ask me what my gender is as a means to insult and mock me. Not knowing how to address me is not a bad thing, but don’t be an ass about it.
I’m offended when people refer to others as “unwomen” or “not men” as a way to differentiate them from “those good men and women.” Who are you to tell someone what their gender is? Yes, real men do rape. Rather than trying to pretend they don’t, how about we deal with the issues that lead those men to rape. Oh, you don’t like feminism? And you think that insulting feminists by calling them “unwomen” is going to win you any points? Congratulations on destroying any possible credibility your opinions could have otherwise had.
I’m offended when people use the “well you have privilege too” line to try and invalidate some criticism aimed at them. We all have some level of privilege. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need to evaluate your own privilege in order to understand why what you said was inappropriate. The other person having privilege doesn’t mean that you get to ignore yours.
I am offended when people say that it is okay to doubt that a rape victim was raped because everybody else who is the victim of a crime is treated that way too. Really? So if I call the police and tell them my house was broken into, they are going to assume I’m lying until I prove that my house actually was broken into? Because every time my house actually has been broken into, the police took my word for it, took my statement, and said they’d let us know when they learned anything. Should I have been asked what I was wearing when the robbery took place? Or what I did to provoke the thieves? Maybe I should have been blamed for living in a house that would get broken into?
I’m offended when I’m compared to a murderer. Or, even worse, Hitler. You want to tell me I deserve to go to jail because I made a legal decision that I felt was best for my future and my family? And your going to try and say that you have the right to be offended because people don’t want to see your disgusting pictures everywhere? Attacking me and then playing the “free speech” card is not how you win support.
I’m offended when people tell me that I can’t be a good person and I deserve to be tortured because I don’t believe in their god.
I’m offended that it has become easier to spread lies and misinformation than it is to spread scientific understanding and actual facts.
I’m offended that people will accuse me of tainting the groups that I’m apart of because of who I am.
I am offended that my very existence offends people. I’m offended that they feel they have the right to insult me and to try and change me simply because I exist.
I’m offended that people will try and invalidate my experiences by telling me that it’s just my opinion or they haven’t seen what I’m saying happens happen. Skepticism is well and good, but there is a point where your “skepticism” becomes willful ignorance. We cannot know everything with 100% accuracy, in fact, I would argue that we can’t know anything with 100% accuracy, and we can’t ignore things until we know them with 100% accuracy. That’s ridiculous. Let’s try some moderation. If you can accept that the big bang happened without seeing it, you can accept that women get harassed by men when you don’t see it. It’s not like I’m saying god did it.
I’m offended when people tell me that I will one day know the truth. Again, don’t patronize me. Just because you believe you’re right and I’m wrong doesn’t mean you actually are right. You can still be wrong. Treat me like a human being equal to yourself, not a bumbling lunatic, and maybe we can both learn something.
I’m offended when people accuse all atheists of being offensive because some atheists are offensive (and some people are offended by the very existence of atheists) but then turn around and defend the offensive things that the members of their own group says. If it’s okay for you to offend people by saying “hate the sin, not the sinner,” why is it wrong for me to offend people by saying that the Bible says offensive things? And why are all atheists demonized because some have said that religion should be destroyed, but all Christians aren’t demonized because some have said that gay people should be put to death?
I’m offended when people try to tell me that if I don’t like being judged based on the words of some of the loudest members of my group, then I should stop them from saying stupid things. Really? You think Richard Dawkins and Thunderf00t give a flying fuck what I have to say? You think that, if I had that kind of power, I wouldn’t be among those voices making my opinions heard? You think that numerous other atheists haven’t already criticized those who make the most noise and say bigoted things? And why does this demand only apply to the groups that you’re not apart of? Why don’t you have the same obligation to police the outspoken bigots in your group? Why can’t I judge you based on what they have said?
As you can see, I’m offended about a large number of things. But I don’t think I have the right to not be offended. I don’t think anyone does. What I do have is the right to call people out for being bigoted assholes. I have the right to tell people why I disagree with them. I have the right to tell people they are bigoted and offensive. I have the right to try and educate them and others. I don’t have the right to shut them up, but they can’t shut me up either.