Going on the Offensive

Altered StatesWhat used to be the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave” is now the “Land of the Crybabies” and the “Home of the Ninnies.” I can’t believe what’s happening to us, America.

What has the information age done to us? It’s created a generation of softies who get offended by every little thing and has given them a platform to speak their outrage: social media. Today, more and more people are getting offended for little or no reason at all. Yes, I’m talking about race, gender, and sexual equality.

Let me start by saying that I am a white, middle-class, straight male. I know this automatically disqualifies me from discussion of any such equality or inequality aforementioned. That being said, we need to stop getting upset over things that can vaguely be misconstrued as sexist, racist, or homophobic. When we do that, we essentially are crying wolf and taking credibility away from a true problem: real racism, sexism, and homophobia.

I’m not saying all of these microaggressions are nonoffensive. I’m saying that 95 percent of them are unjustly perceived to be offensive by the “victim.”

It’s called “microaggression” and is defined on microaggressions.com as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” In other words, someone choosing to get offended by an otherwise nonoffensive interaction.

Now, I’m not saying all of these microaggressions are nonoffensive. I’m saying that 95 percent of them are unjustly perceived to be offensive by the “victim.” Here’s one example from microaggressions.com:

I convinced my boyfriend of a year to go to a school basketball game with me (he detests sports, but a friend of ours was playing). I bought our tickets from our vice principal at the door, handing her a twenty and asking, “two students, please!”

She said, “I hope you aren’t buying his ticket.”

Shocked, I tried to laugh, “I did make him come with me!”

She replied, “Well I guess that’s okay, honey. I was gonna tell you to dump him if he made you pay.”

We went to our seats, he was uncomfortably silent and I was cussing her out profusely. I felt angry, devalued, defensive, and pissed by what society forces on him.

Typical example of a "microaggression."
An offendee displaying an example of a “microaggression.”

Wow! Is this what makes us feel devalued these days? A joking exchange from an education professional to a couple of her students? Come on, now! Please Google microaggression and see for yourself how incredibly outlandish these kids are.

Apparently, I committed a microaggression against my girlfriend the other day. I pulled her chair out at a restaurant. Oops! A big no-no. I didn’t realize it was insulting to her, a woman, to assume she couldn’t pull that chair out herself. Seriously?

The reason we are getting so offended these days is because we value pity over love and respect.

I came across a few great items on the subject: “Sorry, but it’s your fault if you’re offended all the time,” by Matt Walsh, and a video called “Andrew Klavan on the Newest Threat on College Campuses: Microaggression.”

Walsh believes the reason we are getting so offended these days is because we value pity over love and respect. We find it easier and more instantaneously gratifying to gain pity from someone by playing the victim than to take the time to gain others’ love and respect.

I agree a little bit with this, but I think it’s something else, too. I think today people are starved for attention and everyone needs to be famous for something (or famous for nothing). Even if that “something” is being a victim.

With technology today, everyone now has a voice and a way to express himself to the world via Twitter, Facebook, etc. But when we take to complaining on the internet, we avoid confrontation. Necessary confrontation.

If the girl from the example I listed earlier would have told her vice principal how she felt in that moment, I’m almost certain the VP would have seen that this young lady was offended by her attempt at humor. And the problem, therefore, could’ve been resolved instantly.

microaggression-meme-willie-wonkaToday, we lack face-to-face communication skills. If someone insults us, we don’t stand up for ourselves in the moment. We process the aggressive comment or behavior, then post our experience online, where others who have had similar things happen to them will quickly validate us and make us feel accepted.

This is not helping the problem. It’s exacerbating it!

Yes. I’m sure it would be rude and hurtful if I wished every black person I saw during the holidays a Happy Kwanzaa. I’m also sure it would be rude and hurtful if every time I greeted an Asian, I said, “Herro.”

I get that. But, there are obviously some things that are more subtly racist that I, as a white man, am guilty of. I don’t intend to be racist or sexist or homophobic, but I’m sure there are things that I say and do every day that can be perceived as any (and sometimes all) of those three. And I know I’m not the only one.

Don’t be a wuss! If you don’t have the balls to say something right then and there, then you shouldn’t say anything about it on Twitter later.

When we confront these situations and correct the person committing the aggression, then and only then can the perpetrator see that what he is doing is hurtful. Once the derogatory act is identified and acknowledged by both parties, then behavioral adjustment can happen (Step 1: Admit there’s a problem). If you say nothing at all, that person will never know that he is being an asshole, and he will continue to be an asshole until confronted.

Don’t be a wuss! If you don’t have the balls to say something right then and there, then you shouldn’t say anything about it on Twitter later.

My friend Antonio said something to me a long time ago and it is still, to this day, probably the truest thing I’ve ever heard. He said, “Everyone is racist. If someone tells me they’re not racist, well then, they’re a liar and a racist.”

Everyone has some sort of racism, sexism, feminism, homophobia, heterophobia, etc. It’s natural. It’s because we are all different. And we fear what is different or unknown to us.

We are all integrating into this modern, multiculturalist world, and it’s a beautiful thing. But it’s been hard, and frustrating, and — at times— violent. The best thing we can do is be honest with each other. Tell each other how we feel, when we feel it.

Don’t cry to social media to vent your frustrations. Face your problems head on. This is how we grow. This is how we make each other better.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Johnny Valentine

Johnny Valentine
Johnny Valentine is striving to be the Hunter S. Thompson of his generation. Take a walk on the wild side with him.

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