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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Offense v Harm

I must admit to not having blogged as regularly as I suppose I should be. I could say I haven't had the time, but that would be bullshit because it has been my observation that people always find the time to do the things they really want to do. Telling someone you don't have time is simply to avoid saying it's not a priority for you. So anyway, I've been doing a lot of reading and listening to books and some really excellent political analysis podcasts out of WNYC, KQED and KCRW.

Several incidents over the past couple of years and my work as an EEO officer (part-time) dealing matters of offense and harassment, coupled with the "Piss Christ" painting and anti-Moslem cartoons, have made me realize it's time to redefine offense and harm.

Offense is self-inflicted and causes no harm. After all, we can chose not to be offended by a painting, a word, a picture, a gesture, a cartoon. We chose to be offended by something because of what we bring to the item, not because of anything intrinsic to the item itself. I find the Confederate Battle Flag offensive because of what it symbolizes to me even though the displayer may have an entirely different mindset as to what it means to them. No harm is caused by seeing that flag.

Choosing to be offended and demanding that retribution be inflicted on the offended is simply a manifestation of trying to gain power for a particular point of view. That's wrong. Let's, as a society, decide not to be offended, turn our heads or look away, and concentrate on doing away with harmful acts, wars, injuries, physically hurting others. We would be a better and more peaceful world.
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