Because nobody should be left behind
Minorities and marginalized people are often invisible to us – that’s why some of them were in the background of a fair-skinned model on a men’s magazine. The thing is, this offense is what brings them to the fore and makes us aware that hey, these people are people, too. They not only exist, but have every same right as we do to share the space we inhabit – and if they can’t, because they don’t feel welcome, that should be on us.
Because that’s how progress is achieved
Progress never stops. That’s why it’s called progress.
And if the opposite of “pro” is “con,” then the opposite of progress is… wow. That sure makes a lot of sense in the only country that still doesn’t have divorce in the entire world.
There was a time when we had to fight for the rights of women to vote. Then, we had to fight for black people. Then gay people. And now, we try to equalize all of that even more, to take away the tools that were used in the past to hurt these people – specifically, slurs and words and actions.
That isn’t being “oversensitive” so much as it is the natural progression of things. It’s supposed to get better, and if it’s not, the open marketplace of ideas will often correct its course on its own, because let’s face it: everyone is offended by something. While your homophobic buddy couldn’t care less about gay jokes, he just might raise a stink if you make a joke about people with autism, since his brother happens to be one. And it’s in that moment of empathy when people realize that yeah, triggers for people are different, and we should at least respect that.
Because they just want to make someone else’s day a little brighter
You will notice that not everyone outraged is always directly the subject of the outrage, such that when someone drops a racist slur about black people, not a few of the people calling out such chicanery are even black, to begin with. Why is that? Are they so oversensitive, they ran out of stuff to be offended about that concerns them?
Well, two things. First, it’s called “empathy.” You don’t need to be black to feel bad for them when they get shot just because cops are more scared around black people. Secondly, they know that by calling out these daily injustices, they are making things just a little better for the marginalized, and are making an immediate difference in these people’s lives, no matter how small.
That’s not such a bad thing to want, is it? To make other people’s days a little better by not calling them the n-word, or the r-word, or the m-word, or whatever other offensive word there is. It’s not a big deal to us, but it’s a big deal to them. And let’s face it: if getting to say these horrible words is not a big deal to us, then maybe we have issues.
Because we, the offenders, are really the ones who are oversensitive
For decades, gay people have mostly allowed themselves to be called names, and considered sub-human stereotypes. When Manny Pacquiao outright said that gay people were “mas masahol pa sa hayop,” the backlash was so immediate, Manny had to backpedal and tell everyone that oh-so-classic comment that he had a bunch of LGBT friends. You know, his friends na “mas masahol pa sa hayop?”
So what happened? Suddenly, people are defending Manny, saying we should consider his feelings, being an 8-division boxing champ and all. His feelings? You mean like he considered the feelings of every single LGBT person he called “mas masahol pa sa hayop?”
The real reason we are whining about people being “oversensitive” all of a sudden is that in reality, we are the oversensitive ones: we don’t like being reminded that some of the crap that we do is just that: crap. We want to pretend it’s all okay, and not be discomforted by the realization that we’re not the only people in the world, and our freedom to say whatever crap we want does not mean people will withold their freedom to say whatever crap they want if they don’t happen to like what we have to say. We now live in a world where equality is coming in a way we never thought possible: equality by us giving up some things, instead of everyone else just gaining something everyone else already had, and that sometimes includes something like “making rape jokes.”
What was it about that old saying that when we point one finger at someone else, three other fingers are pointing right back at us? Yeah, that’s pretty much us and our inane demand that people stop being offended all the time – because it offends us. Because really, at the end of the day, our days of being jerks to other people without any consequences are numbered – and some of us are not comfortable with relinquishing the privilege of being jerks.
That’s the hill people who say “I hate it when everyone is so oversensitive” choose to die on: the privilege of being a jerk. Between that and “I think it’s nice if we can make things just a little better for people who aren’t like us,” it should be easy to see what the more worthwhile pursuit is.
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