Tuesday, October 13, 2015

No offense intended. Much ado about nothing.

Hey, Kike, Spic, Mick- hope I didn’t offend anyone- because no offense was intended.  Does that make using these pejorative terms ok?  Ever since the recent Charleston church shooting there has been renewed interest in the offensiveness of Confederate symbols to people who see that flag as a symbol of enslaving people.  For several years, thoughtful people have suggested that the name of the Washington DC football team, the Washington Redskins is offensive to Native Americans.  For some people this is a “Much Ado About Nothing” and people should just get over it.

 Thoughtful schools and organizations are saying these names are offensive to an increasingly diverse student body and national population.  Here is what is very troubling to me.  So if someone uses the word Redskin or Kike, I should only be upset if I am a Native American or Jewish. Only schools with diverse student bodies should be worried about these names.   If I am not a member of those groups the offensive language is of no concern to me and I should not be offended.  People who support the use of these names and symbols will counter that it is not because they are “racist or anything” it is just a tradition.   Of course not, they use racist symbols that demean their countrymen but that does not bother them because they are not a member of the demeaned group, so it does not impact them. 

My question is why are we NOT bothered by names that demean others, even if we are not a member of the offended group.  Why is it ok to expect absolution for disrespectful behavior just by saying it was not my intent to offend you?  There is the old story.  They came for the Jews but I did not do anything because I wasn’t Jewish.  They came for the Catholics, but I didn’t do anything because I wasn’t Catholic.   They came for the gays but I didn’t do anything because I wasn’t gay.  Then they came for me and there was no one left to stick up for me. 

To me, people who keep using these names are a bunch of thoughtless, racist, bigots.   Oh no offense intended, so it is all ok.  I’m absolved right?

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