diamond geezer

 Saturday, September 08, 2018

It intrigues me that sometimes when you say something, certain people are offended by it.
And other people aren't.

THAT'S OFFENSIVE THAT'S NOT OFFENSIVE

It's like there are two groups of people, the indignant and the unflappable.
Only they're not always the same people.

THAT'S OFFENSIVE THAT'S NOT
OFFENSIVE

Sometimes most people are offended.
That's when you know you've got it really wrong.

THAT'S
OFFENSIVE
THAT'S NOT OFFENSIVE

And sometimes very few people are offended.
That's when you wonder what their problem is.

Of course, it's usually more nuanced than that.

THAT'S OFFENSIVEI'M NOT SURE IF IT'S OFFENSIVE OR NOT IT'S NOT OFFENSIVE

I often fall in the green camp.
Something doesn't offend me, but I'm not attuned enough to know whether it's offensive per se.

This situation is more awkward.

THAT'S OFFENSIVEIT'S NOT OFFENSIVE TO ME IT'S NOT OFFENSIVE

Just because something's not offensive to me, doesn't mean it isn't offensive.
Racial slurs and religious jibes, for example, might not bother me but upset others immensely.

When you're not part of the group under attack, it's a lot harder to judge where the dividing line is.
Sometimes you have to assume that the group under attack knows whether it's offensive or not.
Or is it just that all you're hearing from are the most easily aggrieved?

I like to picture a continuum of offence.

EASILY OFFENDEDOFTEN OFFENDEDSOMETIMES OFFENDEDRARELY OFFENDED

People in the red group tend to find everything offensive. Hello internet trolls.
People in the pink group are easily offended, but not about everything.
People in the purple group aren't often offended, but can be.
And people in the blue group are the thick-skinned, easy-going souls.

Different statements offend different groups in different ways.
In this next diagram, each statement offends all the groups to its left.

 Statement
1
 Statement
2
 Statement
3
 

Statement 1 only offends the red group. They may simply be over-reacting.
Statement 2 offends red and pink - half the group. This may be the societal norm.
Statement 3 offends everyone but the blue group. It almost certainly is offensive.

And of course there's a whole continuum of statements.

 4 5 6 7 8 9 

Where this gets interesting is in how a particular statement is viewed by particular groups.

Take statement 7, for example.
The blueish groups don't find it offensive at all.
The purple group doesn't find it offensive either.
But the pinky-mauve groups do find it offensive.
And the reddish groups up the far end find it extremely offensive.

One statement, multiple interpretations.
And no 'correct' answer.

When life's not all 4s and 9s, no wonder we disagree.


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