Often times I will read or hear about a prejudice or some hurtful action and think “Oh my God, I do that. I’ve never thought about how hurtful it is before. I should make an effort to stop.” Some specific examples of this have been calling things gay when I was in the seventh grade, and calling things retarded up until the past few years. I assume other people have similar reactions when made aware of some action of theirs that might be hurtful, but I’m finding more and more that the more common reaction for most people is to defend their action. “It’s just a joke” or “I don’t mean that hurtful sentiment” or “You’re being too sensitive/PC/over reacting” etc.
I’m trying not to pass judgement on this reaction. Surely I’ve done it too sometimes, and it does seem like a natural, knee jerk reaction. No one likes being told that they’re being an ass, which is usually how it comes across to point out that you’ve just said or done a hurtful thing. Sometimes it might even be warranted to defend the action, I can’t think of an example now, but surely they must be out there. Most people just don’t stop to think about it all, they just don’t want to feel like a jerk, so they defend themselves as long as they can. I’ve been there (take the calling things retarded case) so I can’t pass judgement on that, I suppose.
What worries me, though, is the acknowledgement that yeah, actions are hurtful, but who cares? This is a tough world filled with mean people and you better be mean too if you want to survive.
I don’t want to live in that world. I’m sorry if you do.
Guess my baby stats!
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