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Taking offense is a choice and I can prove it

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That’s right. I can prove it with two simple examples. But before I do, consider this story…

Last weekend, a student at Ole Miss disposed of a banana peel by throwing it into a tree when he couldn’t find a trash can. Later, a sorority president saw the banana peel and, assuming it was a provocative racial gesture, took offense. As the narrative spread, more and more students became incensed, fearful, and unsafe. This prompted Greek Life organizers to cancel the remaining events for the weekend.

*Facepalm*

Yes, that really happened. Ok, now on to my proof.

Example #1:

Let’s say you’re at the grocery store and you hear someone behind you say, “Look at all these crackers, they all look the same!” Initially, you might be taken aback. How dare they! But then when you turn around and realize they were talking about Ritz and Town House, your mind pacifies. You’ve chosen not to be offended. Why? Because context matters.

Example #2:

In 2008, at President Obama’s Inauguration, Reverend Joseph Lowery said the following:

“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back. When brown can stick around. When yellow will be mellow. When the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right.” (emphasis mine)

Were the Washington Redskins agitators offended by his use of “red man”? No. Why not? Isn’t calling a Native American “red man” just as bad as “redskin”? Absolutely. The reason people weren’t offended is because of context. In our politically correct, short-fused lives we have forgotten that context matters. If the Reverend had used the term in a derogatory way towards Native Americans, then it could be offensive. Clearly his intent was not to degrade, but to inspire. Just like the Redskins mascot itself is meant to do. To take offense over such cases would be artificial, insincere, and only result in crying wolf.

There you have it. The words “I am offended”, are a conscious reaction to a decided thought. So choose wisely, always consider the context, and give the benefit of the doubt. Trust me, life is much more pleasant this way.

A full time engineer by trade, Dan is a conservative, Christian, father, and veteran. He considers himself a rebel against the dominant liberal culture.

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