Why Are People Offended... | Giftie Etcetera: Why Are People Offended...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why Are People Offended...

...by other people's opinions? I've been thinking about this a lot with the Jena Six. How others treat us, of course, matters. If people don't trust and respect me, they won't hire me to be their lawyer. If I am insufferable, no one will want to visit with me. But what about what they think?

It's fair to judge others based on what they believe, of course. There are many people that I don't care for and wouldn't be around, simply based on their racism or sexism.

But it's not my job to control or try to change their opinion. If they are stupid enough to be openly racist, that doesn't offend me. If they act on the racism, of course, I am quite offended. But their beliefs, whether sane or insane, don't affect me until and unless they take action based on them.

I guess this really became clear when I started parenting. I am never offended by others just because they don't parent the way I do or because they don't believe in formula feeding, strollers and carriers, or timeouts for young toddlers. But I am offended as soon as someone else takes action - a random stranger in public lectures me on breastfeeding or a relative tells me (or worse, tells Ander during timeout) that timeout is not okay for someone so young. I am not offended by the thought/belief/position, but the interceding/action drives me nuts!


1 comment:

Mamaebeth said...

generally i think people get offended when someone says or does something offensive. opinions and thoughts only become offensive if they are shared with others; whether that be making comments to a stranger at the mall or writing it down in a public place or perfoming an action people fine offensive.

Racism is a good example i think, because until someone says something racist or does something racist how would anyone know they are a racist?

the flip side is how do you handle an offensive person without offending them in return? (ignoring them is about all i have come up with.) and many people don't consider or don't care how they may be offending the people who have offended them