Let’s stop pretending to be offended by everything

Published 11:05 am Friday, July 10, 2015

I am an individual, full of thoughts, emotions and dreams, who desires to be different from everyone else. Everything I do, from how I dress and act to the things I like are an expression of the person I am. I’m not easily influenced by trends, and I’m not going to conform to society’s expectations just to fit in. I like it that way.

We live in a country that allows me to express myself openly through avenues such as speech, religion or the press — at least it’s supposed to. I shouldn’t have to worry about anything I do or say offending someone, but sadly, this column is probably going to do just that. There’s no way around it anymore.

We assume that we have the ability to share what we think, believe or feel through a 140-character tweet, long-winded status update or — in this case — in the newspaper. But in today’s world of excessive political correctness, it’s likely that we’ll be framed as racist, sexist, homophobic, prejudiced, insensitive, too conservative, too liberal, too religious, etc., if what we say doesn’t fall in line with public majority.

We’re discouraged from speaking our minds because someone, somewhere may take issue with what we have to say. And if they do, they have no problem letting you know it. Instead of allowing you to formulate your own opinion about something, they’ll force their opinion upon you. It doesn’t matter if it’s your thoughts on gay marriage, minimum wage, the Confederate battle flag, the president, the name of the football team in the nation’s capital, gun regulation or something as simple as your favorite music or television show, someone is bound to disagree.

And it’s a new thing every day.

We are becoming too sensitive for our own good, and it is destroying our society. We claim to have a culture of acceptance, one that doesn’t judge based on the color of someone’s skin, age or gender, yet we treat our own opinions as facts. If someone isn’t on the same page as we are, then they’re wrong. Because we’re too worried about what someone else may think, we bend over backward to avoid confrontation. We rarely push the envelope, and we allow others to shape our views. Political correctness has gone too far, and it’s making us soft.

I could tell you that I’m going to say what I want about a number of issues, and that if you don’t agree with me, you should get over it. But that would defeat the entire purpose of this column. If we continue to be offended by everything that is different, how can we get over the hurdles that hold our society back? If we tiptoe around issues or avoid them altogether, how will we ever overcome the unfamiliarity of other cultures and races? If we have to constantly self-censor conversations pertaining to any of the aforementioned issues or we cannot talk about our feelings, beliefs, hopes, worries, dreams and fears, then we are never going to be a truly accepting society.

It is important that we grow and learn to accept everyone for who and what they are: unique individuals designed to think and act for themselves. We have different perspectives, thoughts, feelings, emotions, environments and life experiences that shape who we are and what we believe in. Taking away or limiting that expression will only hinder the progress that could be made if we took the time to swallow our own pride and accept that ideas and thoughts shouldn’t be cast aside because they’re foreign. Ask yourself where we would be if society was always as simple-minded and unaccepting as it is now.

Andrew Lind is a staff writer at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or andrew.lind@tidewaternews.com.