While browsing through the WND website as I do most days, I ran across this headline:
" 'WALK-ONLY ZONES' CALLED MICROAGGRESSION AGAINST DISABLED"
The article can be accessed here. It says in part:
"(Campus Reform) Arizona State University students are petitioning the university to change the name of its pedestrian walkways as its current name—Walk-Only Zones—might be a “microaggression” and “offensive” to people who cannot walk."
I've been seeing this word "microaggression" fairly often lately. Unsure of it's exact meaning, I looked it up. Wikipedia says, "Microaggression is a form of unintended discrimination. It is depicted by the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination. Psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Pierce coined the word microaggression in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he said he had regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans. In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe extended the term to include similar aggressions directed at women; eventually, the term came to encompass the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group, such as poor people, disabled people and sexual minorities."
It seems that I can't open my mouth to say anything these days without offending someone. Do I care? Not particularly.
I live with fun being made at my expense all the time. How many Senior Citizen jokes have you heard lately? How about Fat jokes? I hear them or read them often. And do I get my panties in a wad over them? Not likely. Some I actually find funny. Like when I told one of my daughters that my goal in life was to live long enough to be a problem to my children. Her reply was that my work here was done. Now, that's funny!
As far as I can tell, there is not one single word in our Constitution about the right not to be offended. We will be offended by something or someone, often on a daily basis. I am offended when I hear the language used by the drunks in the street below my window. But the same freedom of speech that allows me to write this blog gives them the right to talk as they wish.
There is a time and place for everything. If, for example, I am in a family restaurant with small children and someone is loudly holding forth using the same profanity as the drunks outside the bar, I might have a chat with the manager of that restaurant, requesting that he/she speak to the offending party, asking that because of the children present, they tone it down just a bit. If this doesn't happen, I will simply take my family and leave, making it crystal clear that not only will I cease to do business with this establishment, I will tell everyone I know about the circumstances.
Many years ago I was in the market for a pickup truck. I went to a local dealership to see what they had to offer. The salesman asked me if I thought I could handle driving a pickup. Did I get mad? Nope. Did I scream at him for offending my female feelings. Nope. I merely told him that his commission would not come from me that day. I added that he might do well to refrain from making assumptions, considering at that time my job was driving an 18-wheeler pulling a flatbed trailer, carrying steel and lumber to points in the lower 48 states and Canada. And I wished him a good day on my way out the door.
I had two choices. I could let his remarks offend me and hurt my feelings or I could let them roll off me like water off a duck and get on with my life. The first would keep me angry and annoyed and eventually give me ulcers. The second would make me a happier person. The look on the salesman's face when he realized his mistake was absolutely priceless and still causes me to smile when I think about it.
When it comes to being offended over a "Walk Only" sign, I know whereof I speak. My Mother was wheelchair bound for many years. There was a time when I would take her shopping or to visit a friend or just for a drive in the country, if that's what she wanted to do. Never - not even once - did I hear her complain that she was offended because others could walk and she couldn't. Matter of fact, I can't ever remember her complaining at all, even though the pain in her joints must have been horrific due to the rheumatoid arthritis that ravaged her body. But offended? Never.
We can't control what others say or do. We can only control how we let it affect us.
Finding things to be offended about is a choice. So is being happy. I choose to be as happy as possible.