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You Don't Get to Tell People You Offend What Is/Isn't Offensive To Them

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Rumplefugly

Member

04-27-2012

This thread (http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=2059069) is deeply depressing me because there seems to be a fundamental misconception by a handful of community members regarding what exactly it means to offend someone. I think this community could be improved if everyone here had a basic understanding of what it means to offend someone.

The crux of the problem is that a large number of community members believe the following claim:

~When I said X, I wasn't trying to offend YOU so I wasn't being offensive.

This argument is commonly used by people who say something offensive without realizing it. When they called out on it by an offended party, instead of apologizing for the offense they just caused, they assert that people taking offense at what they said are being overly sensitive. Words, they argue, are only offensive when they are delivered in a deliberately offensive context. Ergo, if you say something offensive without the "intent" of causing offense, what was said is not actually offensive.

Now before we go any further, I'm going to provide the Merriam-Webster definitions for the words "offend" and "intent" so I can make it abundantly clear what these words mean:

Quote:
of·fend verb \ə-ˈfend\

Definition of OFFEND

intransitive verb
1 a : to transgress the moral or divine law : sin <if it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive — Shakespeare>

b : to violate a law or rule : do wrong <offend against the law>

2 a : to cause difficulty, discomfort, or injury <took off his shoe and removed the offending pebble>

b : to cause dislike, anger, or vexation <thoughtless words that offend needlessly>

transitive verb
1 a : violate, transgress

b : to cause pain to : hurt

2 obsolete : to cause to sin or fall

3 : to cause to feel vexation or resentment usually by violation of what is proper or fitting <was offended by their language>
Quote:
1in·tent noun \in-ˈtent\

Definition of INTENT

1 a : the act or fact of intending : purpose; especially : the design or purpose to commit a wrongful or criminal act <admitted wounding him with intent>

b : the state of mind with which an act is done : volition

2: a usually clearly formulated or planned intention : aim <the director's intent>
Finished reading? Good.

Do you have a clear grasp of what it means to offend and what intent means? Good.

Now let me ask you something: Did you see anywhere in the definition for offense about intent being a prerequisite? Feel free to read it again if you're not sure. I'll wait.

...

...

...Read it again? Good. Did you see it? No, you didn't. Why? Because intent has no bearing on whether or not something is offensive. You can object to this all you'd like, but it doesn't change the fact that it is 100% incorrect to claim offense only exists when it is deliberate. So what do you do when you're in a situation where you unintentionally offend someone?

You apologize for your offense and you avoid repeating it. THAT'S IT.

Because when you offend someone, they do not care about how "I wasn't saying it to be offensive" or "my friends don't care when I say X." They care about making their offense known to the other party so that person will acknowledge their role in causing it and apologize accordingly.

When you say something offensive and refuse to acknowledge it after it's brought to your attention, you are openly refusing to be take responsibility for the things you say.

When you say something offensive and refuse to apologize for it after it is brought to your attention, you are dismissing the hurt feelings of the offended party.

When you say something offensive and make excuses for why it was okay to say after it is brought to your attention, you are saying you are the only person allowed to determine what is offensive to other people, not the people you've offended.

In closing, if someone calls you out for something offensive you've said, regardless of your intent, the onus is on you to apologize for what you said and make sure you don't say it again. These are the rules of a civilized society and the Internet should be no exception. It's not the responsibility of the people you offend to change their behavior, it's yours. Out of all the offensive things you can say to someone, the most offensive is telling someone you've just offended that their hurt feelings don't matter.

Thank you.


Quote:
PerkyDotair:
It's a good thing we have you here to decide for us plebeians what constitutes "real and genuine." This is the one (and only) point the OP is trying to make. Nobody knows (or has any authority to decide) what constitutes "real and genuine" offense. that includes you, XenocideEnder.

If you think you can decide for people if they should be taking offense or not, you are wrong.


PerkyDotair gets it.


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Fathomful

Senior Member

04-27-2012

Well you dont get to tell people You Don't Get to Tell People You Offend What Is/Isn't Offensive To Them.


So there.


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Alexandra Avdey

Senior Member

04-27-2012

If you offend 1 person out of 1,000,000, then the offended is probably the problem; if you offend 96 people out of 100, then you are probably the problem.


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Yenn

Senior Member

04-27-2012

Sorry, I'm lost, is this the care-bear convention?

Being offended is part of life. Deal with it.
If you can't deal with being offended, you have some sort of mental disability and should not be allowed into social situations on your own.


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Rahgar

Member

04-27-2012

430462


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Magnus Grey

Junior Member

04-27-2012

What if you are offended because you didn't understand what the person actually was trying to say? Also, you have a right not to be abused or insulted, but when did you get the idea that you had a right not to be offended?


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XenocideEnder

Senior Member

04-27-2012

Sometimes it doesn't matter whether it's offensive or not. If it's true, it needs to be said.

I'm not talking insults, I'm talking con-crit, here. Constructive criticism, that people go into shrieking fits about. Or just telling a person that they're out-and-out wrong. It doesn't matter if they're offended or not. Don't take back something that's true, EVER. If it's true, then it's worth defending your point of view. Otherwise, if it's an insult or just offensive for the sake of it, don't say it if you don't want to get stuck with backing it up.

That's my policy. I don't care if it pisses people off.


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G4mb13

Senior Member

04-27-2012

Saying that you're offended is basically saying that you cannot control your emotions, and that everyone must do it for you.


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Rumplefugly

Member

04-27-2012

Quote:
Yenn:
Sorry, I'm lost, is this the care-bear convention?

Being offended is part of life. Deal with it. If you can't deal with being offended, shut yourself away from society.


I'm addressing the erroneous argument that offense only exists when it is intentional.

People commonly deal with being offended by bringing their offense to the attention of the guilty party. At that point, the guilty party has a responsibility to acknowledge the offense they've caused and correct it. Dismissing hurt feelings you are directly responsible for makes you a terrible person. I'm not sure why this is such a controversial thing to say.


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Magnus Grey

Junior Member

04-27-2012

Also, not to belabor the point, but I find your moralistic tone and black and white reasoning to somewhat offensive? Apology?

(While I think being a jerk is not cool, I have equally met people who get offended way to easily over every little thing. They are definitely part of the problem.)