re stereotyping, generalizations, offense and wishful (wistful?) thinking

Subject: re stereotyping, generalizations, offense and wishful (wistful?) thinking
From: "Bal Simon" <wordmuse -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 01:09:00 -0700

I seem to recall that people used to have thicker skins and better senses of
humor. It used to be that people might get annoyed with each other. You
might get irritated with me. I might feel and express anger toward you. I
might be impatient with a fool and later have to apologize when I belatedly
realized that it was I who played the fool.

It used to be that I didn't have to speak in hushed tones. It used to be
that I didn't have to worry about stepping on people's toes so much. It
used to be that people - me included - kept their feet more or less under
their bodies instead of extending them into the aisles to see which
unsuspecting slob might not see the all too naked toes and inadvertently
step on them.

It used to be the "minority" meant less than the majority, that "gay" meant
happy, that I didn't have to keep track of what a person with darker pigment
than me needed to be called. It used to be that I didn't look at a person's
skin, gender, orientation, or any other stupid ad-hoc characteristic at all.
All I used to look at - and still try to look at - was their heart and head
(in that order).

Now, we're divided. I've got my little group. You've got your little
group. Today's society's members often seem unwilling to relate to each
other as individuals. And we've got a code word for this group-think:
"offended." So, Jill no longer feels irritated with something I said. No,
she logs it in her corporate "offense diary", and waits, like a lioness for
the opportunity to pounce. Jim no longer feels free to call me stupid. Now
he has to couch it in oh so pleasant terms so that I have to read between
the lines of what he thinks. And I can no longer have a belly laugh in a
corporate setting lest someone misinterpret my jollity as insensitivity.
( and

I exaggerate but little. I know that things weren't perfect years ago. But
at least there was honesty. Now we've got tepid niceness. Isn't that nice?

]] -at- ]]


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