macaca caca

Words slip out.  Sometimes we get caught up in the heat of the moment and say things we later regret.  We might be angry or haughty, we may be taken out of context, we may be baited.  What ever the case, words can cut deep and be painful.  The worst possible thing that can happen is when our words collide with another’s feelings and the bruising is unintentional.  When that happens there are two victims of ill placed verbiage, from the speaker to the hearer.  Of course… apologies are offered and accepted, but the wounds can take forever to heal.  If a person is big enough to say they regret hurt feelings then the one on the receiving end should graciously accept that apology, don’t you think?

On the other hand, I think there is too much emphasis on becoming offended in this new millennium.  Every time I turn around somebody is belly aching about this or that offending them.  I can’t figure out why this has become such an issue with people.  WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?  It is so prevalent in our society it is becoming a paradox.  Becoming offended seems to be in vogue, like who can pick the most things to be offended by?  So much so that I find it offensive. 

When Virginia Senator George Allen called S.R. Sidarth “macaca” last month, (which has been translated as “monkey”) it was meant as a joke and not malicious.  The audience got the intent and laughed.  Sidarth felt uncomfortable because he was the only person “of color” in the audience.  Gee, big surprise!  All he had to do is look around, right?  I guess when it was made so apparent to everyone else it embarrassed him.  When Allen was thrown under the bus for his “off color” remark, he apologized.  (He thought the word had to do with the hairstyle worn by Sidarth)  He even called Sidarth personally and said “he was sorry if Sidarth was offended by anything he said.”  Fair enough? Apology accepted?  Not quite, Sidarth chided Allen for not apologizing for “saying something offensive” rather than “apologizing if Sidarth took offense.”  Hey, there was a large audience that knew how to take a joke, no apology needed for them.  (On the other hand… should they all apologize for laughing?  hmmm…)

If now we have to carefully choose our words of apology to appease those offended and have our intentions scrutinized rather than be accepted in the spirit that they are offered, we are really in trouble.  It is not enough to say we are sorry, we have to be REALLY sorry.  We have to grovel, we have to be contrite, we have to suffer equal if not greater humiliation.

If a woman walks around wearing a push up bra to emphasize her 36 DD cups, why does she act offended if construction workers notice her strut by?  If a young man covers himself with tattoos, body piercings and traipses around with a shaved head, why is he offended if people single him out as “different”?  When a person acts suspiciously at an airport, is he not going to be watched even if it may be “profiling’?  A certain nationality immigrates illegally and demands certain things as their “right”, are they not going to garner resentment?  Some might view the fore mentioned things offensive, so who wins?

Sometimes we cross the line unintentionally, sometimes we reap what we sow, sometimes we act out and out offensively and do not fear or care about the consequences.   And sometimes people are just too thinned skinned  for their own good.  They would complain if they were hung with a new rope, like my Dad used to say.  (He had a high regard for rope makers, by the way.  Just in case there are any reading this.) 

We are too busy scurrying around being “offended” by such trivia and not looking at the big picture!  Drug use is rising, crime is up, people are homeless and without jobs.  There is a war going on, idiots are in office, athletes are over rated and over paid, lawyers are waging war on health care facilities, doctors can’t afford malpractice insurance, our children can’t learn and the entertainment industry is aiding in the dumbing down of our society. 

I find these things more offensive than being called a monkey… but if we aren’t careful, our sensitivities may make a monkey out of us.

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