General Question

MarvinPowell's avatar

Why is today's generation hyper-sensitive and PC?

Asked by MarvinPowell (627points) April 22nd, 2014
99 responses
“Great Question” (7points)

Everywhere you go, someone is saying how “offended” they are over something trivial and minor. As if being “offended” gives someone special rights or privileges. No one at all cares. Yet, so many people nowadays think that the world revolves around them and that everyone’s freedoms stop where their feelings begin.

Being thick-skinned, brutally honest, and someone who likes jokes, I absolutely hate how big of a crybaby so many people are, nowadays. I’ll never change to appease people who think the rest of the world is supposed to conform to them. Yet, we have sites like Tumblr and a whole generation of thin-skinned whiny crybabies.

Can someone please tell me why the movie “Demolition Man” has become a reality and our entire generation has become soft, whiny and childish?

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Mimishu1995's avatar

What do you mean by “today generation’s PC?

Actually, young people are “over sensitive” because they’re growing up. They enter puberty, experience changes in their bodies and minds. The changes are so overwhelming that they can’t adapt to them properly, leading to being bad-tempered.

Moreover, teenagers are beginning to get aware of their existence, develop a bigger ego, and have a desire to verify their existence to others. That’s why they find it hard to accept different opinions.

Of course there are people who are dicks too. But saying “today generation is thin-skinned” is a little just too harsh. Cut young people some slacks, they’re learning about the world.

MarvinPowell's avatar


I don’t mean just 12 and 13 year olds. I mean, pretty much any 90’s baby or anyone under 30. Sometimes, its even 40+ year olds.

People are acting like words sting them even more than bullets. Relatively harmless words like “gay” or “retarded”. I understand why people may find certain things offensive, but people are WAY more sensitive and thin-skinned now more than ever. I think it may have to do with those first anti-bullying campaigns, combined with the narcissism of social networking. People have this inflated sense that the world revolves around them and that they subconsciously are in control of the rest of society.

I’m 27. Not exactly young or anything. But even when I was a 4th grader, we would say things and curse that nowadays, some people want to outlaw. The softest words possible are “offensive.” And even people my age now have this sense of entitlement that everyone is supposed to be as politically correct and go out of their way not to offend as much as possible, even with words that have very little offense to them, or things said with no malice or hatred in them.

I should note, I’ve never been one to let someone control my emotions so easily, simply through language. Which is why everyone who is like this seem so weak and emotionally soft. It’s like a five year old that doesn’t get his way and has to cry and stamp his feet. People have free speech and expression to say any words they like. Why throw such a hissy-fit over them, especially when they’re soft words? I was taught to ignore people who say ‘offensive speech’ and eventually, they’ll lose attention. Today, people do the opposite and LOOK for things to cry about.

Examples: Suey Park, Melody Hensley who claims she got post traumatic stress disorder from Twitter, and most modern feminists.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Before people were being called gay they were known as fags. Gay was a word which meant fun, happy, lively, exuberant.
Retarded is a pejorative and calling these unfortunate human beings retards is a slur no less demeaning than racial slurs.

To speak more gently of persons, any persons, as opposed to slighting them with sarcastic barbs denoting your judgement of some apparent outward condition they exhibit is the manly, courageous way to be.

“even people my age have this sense of entitlement that everyone is supposed to be as politically correct and go out of their way not to offend as much as possibl”

It’s simply being a decent human being, @MarvinPowell

ragingloli's avatar

I advise you to visit /b/ on 4chan and reconsider your position.

MarvinPowell's avatar


I’m sorry if I don’t live my life conforming to every overly sensitive crybaby who thinks “gay” is a super-offensive word. I don’t even use the word very often, but its because I have a broader vocabulary, not because I’m trying appeal to some whiny person who thinks its “offensive.” Words change, and a while ago, gay wasn’t associated with homosexuals. Its naive to think others can “own” words, dictate how and when they’re used, and try to be Thought Police to the rest of society.

Someone can be a decent person without having to kiss everyone else’s butts in the process. I’d advise people stop being so narcissistic in thinking everyone else is supposed to act only how THEY approve of. I never go out of my way to insult or hurt others, but I’m not going to change who I am just for one or two people who had over-protective parents that shielded them from the real world and made them feel ‘extra special’ in that the world is supposed to work according to how THEY want it.

Seriously, that’s a little kid mentality. Grow up.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Nor do I think you should change who you are until you are darn good and ready to do so. Then let’s hope you morph into the next generation of @MarvinPowell and your evolution is a positive one.

You say you never go out of your way to insult or hurt others, but that is so obviously a lie that I had to snicker at your infantile mentality.

Too bad you are so short, too.

Have a fun life.

ninjacolin's avatar

So you’re offended by people’s taking offense? Am I understanding this correctly?

MarvinPowell's avatar

Wow, you’re being pretty butthurt, aren’t you? Way to be an example of my point. I don’t even know what I said to you for you to huff and puff so much.

“It’s simply being a decent human being.”

I guess you’re the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes a “decent human being,” huh? You’re basically a self-appointed Jesus, am I right? The self-righteousness is simply staggering. And for you to then try to take cheap potshots at me, as if it bothers me in any way at all, also adds “irony” to the list, as well. Okay, you go have a juice box in the corner and calm down, while us adults behave as such.

Anyway… my whole point is, people who let words control them so much are pretty emotionally weak and I’d like to know why so many people are like this when this wasn’t the case in recent history. I knew from a very early age I wouldn’t always get my way. Why is it so hard for others to understand this and “get offended” over so many minor things? There are bigger problems in the world than disagreeing with someone or getting in a tizzy because they think the world should only be, according to them. (Right, Dan Lyons?)

I’m far from “offended” by it. That’s an over-used, over-saturated and pretty much meaningless word, nowadays. Again, who gives a flying f-ck? “Offense” literally means nothing. If its someone close to you, maybe you’ll try your best not to offend them. But every single random person who thinks EVERY single thing is offensive? Not to mention, it weakens the concept the more people use it. Things people should be offended by, no one will take seriously anymore.

Am I the only person left who has a backbone and isn’t beaten down into a blubbering crying mess by words? Seriously. This is ridiculous. So many adults are behaving like spoiled children!

ninjacolin's avatar

Without getting into it too much, as I’m sure I’d like to.. I think some people do operate on a theory that holding some things sacred will generally produce a better result than allowing everything to go to the dogs.

eg. “Trust me, life will be more fun for both of us if you DON’T make jokes about raping my loved ones to my face.”

And I’m sure that could sound like a veiled threat but it doesn’t have to be. I expect there really are people who theorize a general life benefit by holding the right things as sacred. I’m sure I do it to some extent too.. I think my plan is not to get myself or the rest of the world too comfy with certain words or ideas.. like raping my loved ones. If I want them to take the act seriously, it’s a good idea to make the topic taboo so that everyone responds to the concept (for example in the event of a crime) with an appropriate measure of negativity.

Negativity management, perhaps.

MarvinPowell's avatar


But isn’t that the same point I made about people trying to be Thought Police and control what others say, think, and how they act? Which in itself, is immature, narcissistic, and entitled?

As I said, to me, the mature thing would be to not let certain words or feelings get you down. Ignore them and they’ll go away by the lack of attention.

Also, jokes about raping your loves ones is understandable to get upset about, as rape is literally the most heinous offense in our legal system and family are the closest people most of us have.

I’m talking about getting offended at every minor little thing. Like Mr. Marshmallow Danny said. “Retarded” is offensive to some people? “Gay” is offensive? Seriously, these words have been used the same way since the 70’s and very rarely do people use them exclusively in putting down the mentally ill or homosexuals. You don’t get very far from talking crap about the mentally ill.

I see one problem, here. People don’t seem to know what context is. They take every little word at its most literal sense. (Which is pretty fucking retarded, if you ask me!) Words are meaningless without context, but some people don’t seem to understand this.

What’s more “offensive?” The sentence “Homosexuals and people of the LGBT community should be raped, sodomized, and burned at the stake” or “That new Robocop movie was pretty gay.” The first sentence was very politically correct, but had hate and malice. The second wasn’t politically correct, but only talked about how bad a particular movie is. See?

Now if you’re one who says the second sentence is more “offensive” than the first. Then guess what? You’re an idiot!

ninjacolin's avatar

Personally I’ve found that the mature view is that you can’t be social without necessarily controlling what people think and feel. Every word I type to you is just a little bit more work that you HAVE to deal with.. even my horrible use of capital letters and bold. These are imposed on you and they are meant (whether successfully or not) to influences your experience of reality.

So, given the fact that I can’t interact with others without imposing literal, physical and mental changes onto their brains it behooves me to take care what words I choose so that my impact on you is generally pleasant.

This is a bit abstract (#1) but consider when people who have to interact closely with you choose to speak in another language than the common one you all share. It’s considered impolite. Or imagine if someone is trying to talk to you but keeps using filler words from another language that you don’t understand every here and there.

Using slang terms like gay, fag, nigger, retarded, etc, for non-offensive purpose in the context of friends who understand their colloquial use is one thing but using it publically around others who don’t share your slanguage is just as.. awkward.. as being spoken to or spoken around in a language you don’t understand EXCEPT one key difference: You DO have one understanding of those terms.. and it isn’t a good one. So, until you are indoctrinated into your cult of evil sayings for positive purposes, it can only strike those people as offensive. At least at first. That must be easy to understand, right? It’s not like they are used to hearing those words in positive contexts. Hell, it’s not even like the colloquial uses are meant in an entirely positive light either.. So for them it only rings as a bad thing. A recalling of bad memories that can’t be escaped.

Now, this is a bit abstract (#2) as well, but also imagine grammar nazis. When someone corrects you from; “Me and Jim” to “Jim and I”.. they are doing so not because you can’t be understood but because there is an established norm and speaking another way rubs against our better senses. Try to imagine other types of grammer/spelling/manner corrections (no elbows on the table, no drinking from the carton, i before e.. etc..)

There are norms and if you weren’t aware of them before, you are certainly being told about them now. So NOW you can follow the lead and get along with the rest of society in a more powerful way than ever before.. right?

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MarvinPowell's avatar


For the first part, I understand what you’re trying to say, but I don’t specifically mean just using words that you know might possibly offend someone and doing them anyway. I meant more along the lines of words, phrases, or other things which generally aren’t offensive that people jump the gun towards. One thing that’s always annoyed me, though it very rarely happens, is when someone insists on referring to their race by a very specific term. For example, if I had a friend who said it is “offensive” to call him “Black” and not “African American” or vice versa. I’d roll my eyes at him and tell him to shut the fuck up, and I’m black. Stuff like THAT.

Specifically, the best cases to prove my point, as I said, are people like Suey Park and Melody Hensley. Park tried to get Stephen Colbert canceled because he made a joke mocking racism. Ironically, his joke to mock racism, she took literally and wouldn’t stop even after it was pointed out to her. And Melody Hensley claimed to have PTSD from slightly negative comments on fucking Twitter! Seriously. Anyone reading this should Google those two names if they don’t know what I’m trying to say. That is what I am talking about. This is more what I mean. And its not just them. Look at Tumblr. Who loves nothing more than to bash all those Cisgendered, straight white males and remind them to “check their privilege.” Ironically, they are more racist and bigoted than most people who claim to be self-admitted racists and bigots! Condemning an entire group of people to be negative and hate-filled and being hyper-sensitive and flippant to those who might disagree.

And I strongly disagree about social interaction controlling what people think and feel. Obviously, by human nature, we are going to think and feel certain things. But it doesn’t mean it will have any kind of subconscious control on us. I can watch 100 different car commercials on TV at any given day, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy a Lexus. I can see a litany of campaign ads and posters, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to vote for the candidate (if I chose to vote, at all). I don’t think someone saying something subconsciously controls people like that. Maybe stupid, gullible people. But that’d basically be saying none of us have free will or are in control of our own thoughts. And if that was the case, you could argue that no one has any responsibility for anything. It was all some ‘outside influence’ that made someone do or say what they did.

So I mean less about colloquial slang that is known to offend some people that is best left unsaid just for the sake of popularity and getting along. And more so, being hyper-sensitive and taking every little slang word or phrase in its most literal sense and then, assuming it was said with malice or hate-filled intent. Even beyond using “gay” as an adjective for “disappointing” because it MIGHT offend some homosexual man somewhere. Even though the majority of gay people I knew weren’t so sensitive. They even call each other ‘fags’ as a term of endearment to de-power the word. Like black people creating “nigga” from the negative term “nigger.”

As for norms, those typically aren’t the norms. Not at all. Just because one person thinks certain words are “offensive” doesn’t mean they are. In fact, no such Vocabulary Police even exists. Some words may be more universally seen as more negative than others, but there is no book somewhere that says “These words are bad; you can’t use them.” Of course, people are going to do their best to try to fit into society and conform, because only a few people like being alone and hated by everyone. But what one small minority of people thinks is “offensive” doesn’t speak for the rest of society. Especially when you add in geography and location into the mix. I live on the East Coast of the US, so I imagine words like “gay” and “retard” are likely WAY more commonly used here than in Southern California, which has a larger hyper-liberal community, many of whom happen to be homosexuals. Thus, there is a larger chance some people might take offense to that, even if they are still in the minority.

But as I said, the bigger point I wanted to address is in words that are mostly harmless (especially when the context of them are obvious) and that user probably would never think are “offensive.” And as I said, someone’s “offense” doesn’t dictate society’s behavior. Maybe a large consensus of people, but not individuals. You can choose to adhere to their standards or not, but it is always supposed to be a choice. A person’s personal feelings doesn’t dictate how society is supposed to act. One person doesn’t control everyone in the universe. I get that whole “negativity management” idea, but its still a foolish one to think most people are going to change everything they do to conform to one person’s wishes just because they feel more justified or think they have some imaginary moral high ground.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

@MarvinPowell You say you are thick-skinned, right? Then why have you turned this seemingly thoughtful thread into a warzone like this?

You say “today’s generation hyper-sensitive”, which mean you are accusing literally everyone today for being crybabies and unable to accept different opinion. You don’t know that “everyone” apparently includes you!

From time to time you dismiss everything we have to say and accusing us of being unable to understand your point. We understand, but we think differently from you. We are merely expressing our thoughts. It is just you who are thinking we are dismissing you.

I know I am sounding harsh to you, but if you are “thick-skinned” and “couldn’t care less what some random person on the internet thinks” then turn a blind eye to what I’m saying here. It’s just the internet, anyway, right? Here! Look at me and think of me as some random person who is talking shit about you. Be true to your word and show me what you’ve got now!

MarvinPowell's avatar

I never said “literally everyone today.” You are taking it too literal.

I am not the one who started slinging insults for no reason. Two people so self-righteously tried to do that on this topic though, and I dismissed them.

This is once again getting off topic, because one or two people tried to be self-righteous and think they are “holier than thou.” I’d like it remain on topic please.

canidmajor's avatar

Please rethink the concept of “brutally honest”. Any adjectival phrase that includes the word “brutally” is probably inappropriate in any social interaction.
I also don’t understand why you would choose to continue behaviors that upset others. Where you style them to be overly sensitive, they may be styling you to be insensitive. Dialing back on a stubborn insistence of non-compromise may be a start.

JLeslie's avatar

I think people are too easily offended also, but I think if someone voices a preference and they are part of the group offended we should take their comment to heart. For instance if I say the black man, and a black person I am with says, they prefer I use Aftican American, I am happy to switch up. What can get annoying to me is when a white person gets super offended in that same situation. Especially, and this is the part that really gets to me, almost every black person I know prefers the term black. I personally when I am with black friends, if for whatever reason I am going to refer to a black person, I ask who I am with what term they prefer, so they get to choose what I say.

We do have to acknowledge that some terms move out of favor. If enough years pass where everyone knows the terms are offensive then I see why people might not have patience for people who use the very old terms. Calling a black person colored is not going to be met well, many very young people might have to pull on history class memories to even know what it means. I don’t think we should try to insist people should not be offended by the use of that term, because it was used during a time where things kind of sucked for many black people in the US. However, I prefer to not be offended and simply inform the speaker I prefer a different term be used if I am around. That I think the term is offensive, which is not the same as actually being offended. I’m white but the way, seems I should mention that. When people around me used the phrase “Jew it down” instead of bargain, I told them it is an offensive phrase and explained why. I was not offended, because I genuinely think the few times I heard it the people really were quite clueless. I am Jewish.

Two days ago I was pretty offended by what a friend was saying about atheists. Rather, I was hurt and dissappointed. It wasn’t a term he used, but what he thinks about atheists.

Retarded I guess is out of favor now. Same with Mongoloid now being a not so nice term, we are expected to use Downs syndrome. These things change. As our culture evolves we have become more and more sensitive to people with disabilities and that is a good thing.

I feel we should learn the person’s intent before we assume the person is racist or insensitive. Maybe they don’t know the new terms? You might be discussing a subject they rarely discuss and use vocabularly they recognize from 20 years ago. We should not jump to offended, but we can let someone know they might be saying something that can be taken offensively.

hominid's avatar

@MarvinPowell: “That new Robocop movie was pretty gay.”

If you’re at all concerned about communication (and this is what language is used for, right) than this sentence will cause some confusion.

It forces me, the receiver of this sentence, to attempt to parse what you’re saying.

- Is he saying that the movie Robocop is very homosexual? In what way could he mean? Is it filled with many homosexual themes? Does it make the viewer feel homosexual?
– Or is he saying that the movie Robocop is very happy? Very few people use “gay” to mean happy, so this is doubtful. But if he means this, is he saying that the movie makes him feel happy, or is the general tone of the movie happy?

Both of the above explanations will likely not be what you meant when you said that “That new Robocop movie was pretty gay.”. You might go on to describe how it was a terrible movie. You are likely using “gay” as a synonym for bad, shitty, or awful.

Am I correct? If so, what some people might object to is the attempt to re-purpose a word that has already been intentionally used to mean “homosexual”, but use it to mean “horrible”. The selection of this word (gay) is no accident. So the use of “gay” to mean “shitty” is a declaration of how you feel about homosexuality and homosexuals.

Let’s try this: “That new Robocop movie was so Latino.” Go through the same steps above, and you will come up with the same conclusion. Every use of the term “Latino” in this way would be a statement about Latinos, so it would not be very surprising when someone calls you on it.

If you don’t mind that you’re communicating your thoughts about homosexuals by making a statement like that, then you probably shouldn’t mind that people who hear you making denigrating statements about homosexuals would want to call you on it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I can’t help but laugh any time someone complains about a younger generation. Surely that’s a sign of getting old and set in their ways.

The challenge for you appears to be that you believe As if being “offended” gives someone special rights or privileges. No one at all cares. Yet, so many people nowadays think that the world revolves around them and that everyone’s freedoms stop where their feelings begin.

The truth is that some people do care. A few of those are willing and able to speak up in defense.. There will even be more people who speak of your comments with disdain behind your back. Some will lower their level of respect for you without saying a word to anyone.

Be thankful for those that are vocal. They are giving you honest feedback.

JLeslie's avatar

@hominid When did homosexuals start using gay? I just wonder because using gay to mean something or someone is dorky or something similar has been around a long time. I used it as a kid back in the 70’s. For me gay went from meaning happy and carefree, which is a little before my time, although I still heard it on TV and in movies, to dorky/stupid, to homosexual in that order. It seems to me homosexuals adopted the word, maybe partly because gay meant not only carefree, but implied sexually carefree in some context. I don’t really know the entire evolution of the word. I do know when I used gay as a youngster I had no thoughts of same sex relationship or sex. It was in no way a slur against gay people to say a movie was gay back then, and I doubt it is now when used, even though it might be heard that way.

I am not defending using the word gay that way, it obviously has become offensive to homosexuals and since need to find a better word, but I think arguing people who use gay to describe an idiotic movie are saying gay people somehow are also offensive or idiotic is just not the case. Knowing the intent of the speaker should matter. Not to excuse the speaker, but so that the listener is not hurt by the words.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer, @MarvinPowell isn’t only talking about youngsters, he’s talking about a lot other people today.

hominid's avatar

@JLeslie – I don’t know the exact etymology and dates involved. But that is irrelevant. Call a heterosexual man “gay” and pretend to act shocked when he fails to see any other context. In 2014 (or 1985), there is no ambiguity about the meaning of this word. When people watch an old movie where the guy is singing about being gay, every 12-year-old boy (born in 2002) will think it’s hilarious.

@JLeslie: “but I think arguing people who use gay to describe an idiotic movie are saying gay people somehow are also offensive or idiotic is just not the case.”

Listen, I am rather immune to being offended as I’ve discussed here many times. All I am saying is that saying “That new Robocop movie was pretty gay.” communicates something very specific today:

- The speaker didn’t like the movie.
– The speaker either:
a) Likes using the term for homosexuality to describe things s/he doesn’t like.
b) Is unaware that s/he is using a term for homosexuality to describe things s/he doesn’t like.

gailcalled's avatar

“The Last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay.” Listen to it here

Written in 1940, when Paris was sadly no longer warm and gay, having fallen to the Germans.

MarvinPowell's avatar

Thank you for your great answer! You seem to be the only one who gets it, so far.

“So the use of “gay” to mean “shitty” is a declaration of how you feel about homosexuality and homosexuals.”

Uh… no. That’s a horrible argument. You’re basically assuming it can ONLY be option A or option B, based on your own flawed logic, then use assumptions and faulty logic to basically stretch it into being a slanderous term for homosexuals. Sorry, but I’m not dumb enough to fall for such a terrible tactic. And few other people are, either.

Ironically, you explained how the word has change meaning over time, and then, try to backtrack it and “prefix” it to mean something else. Thus, you got the point of it right and still missed it! As I already explained, most people use it as a generic insult, completely unrelated to homosexuals (even if some do use it related to this). Which is why it silly to take it in such a literal way. Its like someone calling someone else a Jackass and getting offended because you want to assume the intent is that they’re a big, smelly four legged animal, and not being obnoxious in a public setting, like the context it was used in.

And if the word “Latino” was used by a huge number of people, who used said word unrelated to Hispanic males, than your argument still fails. One single group cannot “own” a word or its possible definitions or meanings.

I said “today’s generation,” not “youngsters.” I’m 27, so that would include my own generation and a few years older, as well.

“A few of those are willing and able to speak up in defense.. There will even be more people who speak of your comments with disdain behind your back. Some will lower their level of respect for you without saying a word to anyone. Be thankful for those that are vocal.”

Sigh. Another person taking a moral high ground and thinking they are somehow “above others,” I see. I assure you, your assumption is wrong. As well as any other assumptions that I must be some kind of hate-filled bigot because I don’t get squeamish at literally every single word that could somehow be stretched into an “offensive” context, in some way.

I feel sorry for people like that. Their emotions and well being is dependent solely on other people. They have no free will. Let’s just admit that, right now. If the words of others bother you THIS much, you have no free will. You have no capability of thinking for yourself. You let others control you, your thoughts, your emotions, and ultimately, your actions. I’m sorry if I am the “crazy one” in the room for being independent in this regard and not being emotionally stunted in where I live life “hoping and wishing” someone doesn’t say anything negative or “offensive” to me, thus ruining my day and handing my power and free will over to them.

”[It] communicates something very specific today:

- The speaker didn’t like the movie.
– The speaker either:
a) Likes using the term for homosexuality to describe things s/he doesn’t like.
b) Is unaware that s/he is using a term for homosexuality to describe things s/he doesn’t like.”

Only major problem with that is, not everyone thinks in that same hyper-liberal, PC context as you do. Thus, the argument is flawed. You can’t adopt what YOU think onto everyone else. That is the fallacy, here. And apparently, no one has yet to discuss the first sentence, which makes me think sensitivity IS more important to some people than actual context. Which is pretty damn horrific, if you ask me. The idea that you’d rather be insulted using political correctness than hear a word that you, personally take to be offensive, despite what the context of the speaker is. (And by “you,” I mean anyone, in the general sense.) I’m sorry, but that is PRETTY FUCKING STUPID.

This seems like the WRONG crowd to ask this question to. Apparently, the majority of people here are of the super politically correct and apparently easily-offended crowd. In normal, everyday life, you would hear far worse than this, as this is nothing, related to ‘words that can offend.’ There isn’t even any malice here and people are gettign offended and trying to take some kind of moral stand. How can people be offended by words without malice or hate?

@ninjacolin and @JLeslie had some great answers and seemed to understand what I meant. Everyone else… right over your heads. I can’t stress this enough since some people don’t get it, but not every word you deem “offensive” is actually offensive! And you cannot control how other people are allowed to behave, whether you approve of it or not. Society doesn’t all think in the same way, and not everyone is so PC and thin-skinned. And disapproving of certain words doesn’t put you in some kind of moral high ground or level of being ‘right.’ You cannot assume you know a person’s intent or context in what they say. That is the major issue, here. Trying to enforce what you THINK in what people SAY. Which is just wrong to do. (As in, “using the term gay automatically makes you homophobic. No exceptions.”) This level of stupidity, here. And no, I cannot think of a euphemism less “offensive” than to flat out call it stupidity.

And homosexuals do not “own” the word gay and all its meanings, not that this main issue, anyway. I already STATED the main issue, which no one has talked about, yet. The thing with Suey Park and others similar. Instead, the same overly-sensitive people I was talking about want to complain about words, as if they own the rights and meanings to them, which was not the main issue, anyway.

But fuck it. If no one’s going to even bother with trying to discuss it…

hominid's avatar

@MarvinPowell: “Only major problem with that is, not everyone thinks in that same hyper-liberal, liberal context as you do. Thus, the argument is flawed.”

I’ll ignore the “liberal context” comment because it’s irrelevant. But think for a moment – you asked this question because there are enough people who are failing to receive the message you are attempting to communicate. If you are at all interested in being understood (your question strongly implies that you are) then it is reasonable to try to understand why it is that your statements are being misunderstood.

GloPro's avatar

Hmmm, I don’t feel like arguing today, so I will post and run:
The irony of the unnecessary mud-slinging and insulting comments in @MarvinPowell‘s direction has not escaped me. If those of you attacking @MarvinPowell are doing so to prove a point you are missing the point of the OP. If you are slinging hateful comments because you are pissed off, take a breather and rethink your argument and words. Name calling and personal attacks are not what the OP is about, and there is no need to shame @MarvinPowell for traits beyond his control. I have not observed @MarvinPowell making any direct insults at any jelly, but have read several potentially offensive things said as examples of his view.
I agree with @JLeslie that if it has come to my attention that a word I use in conversation is offensive then I will adjust my terminology as not to offend. I was jumped all over on here for calling a little person a midget when my little person friend had told me to use midget. So I make sure that on this site I use little person. It hasn’t been any harder than @ucme and @Symbeline not using curse words for a month. Do I care? No. But I do care about being ostracized, so I tweak my behavior and verbiage because others will be mean to me if I don’t. It’s negative reinforcement at it’s finest. We all learn to fine tune our behavior when we need to. Don’t pretend you act the same way in front of your boss as you do your best friend or your grandmother.
It is never acceptable to use racist slang words, in any context outside of a comedy show that you have subjected yourself to by paying to go. You may get up and leave if you are offended. If your social circle finds it tolerable to call one another spic, nigger, chink, whatever, then that is a poor choice you have made and not my business. If you use those words in public I will generally call you out. Skin color and associated cultures are not chosen and should not be used as insults. IMO. If I feel that the word ‘gay’ is being used to flame someone I will also step in. Bullying, in general, is something to take offense with and not the point of the OP.
And finally, @MarvinPowell, to address your OP. I agree with you that some people have become hyper-sensitive. My belief is that there are options for lifestyles that were never discussed back in the day because the lifestyle itself was taboo or unheard of, such as being vegan, as a hopefully neutral example. Now that being vegan is a readily acceptable choice for someone to make, there are heated discussions caused by this new life choice that were never even thought of 20 years ago. Some people can handle the opinion’s of others more easily, and are not offended. Some people want faster acceptance of their belief or opinion, so they get offended and ostracize you for not being educated. I personally think people should relax more, but I don’t get offended easily. I usually step out of conversations because I can see that I am offending others and don’t wish to do so, but I also don’t really give a fuck about their opinions. I belong in the ‘too blunt’ category. I also let things slip in conversation that make me feel foolish, and would reword them if you could take words back. But I try my best, and I am positive that I have a good heart and do more good than harm in this world. If people choose not to associate with me because I crack a joke in poor taste or stick my foot in my mouth on occasion then I consider it a mutual decision because we are not ever going to be too close anyway.
I have a tattoo that says ‘Judge Not’ Mt. 7:1.’ I believe that living by that phrase is one of the hardest things to live by, both in not being judged and not judging others. I try, I really do.

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MarvinPowell's avatar

Thank you. I feel exactly the same way as you do. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

I don’t go out of my way to offend anyone. I don’t care enough about strangers to do that. I also don’t care enough to always watch what I say, either. As I stated, I’m blunt, but not insensitive or mean-spirited, but “your feelings are not my problem” is my motto. Some people need to grow up and learn how to be emotionally independent. Get out of this child-like mentality of hurt-feelings and sensitivity. Most people on here aren’t little children. And the world doesn’t owe you a thing. So you should be grateful to those who are nice and respectful to you, and not see it as a right expected to be given at all times. (Assuming someone disagree with you or saying something you disapprove of, amounts to “disrespect,” not that it always, or even mostly, does.) Seriously, what world do some of these people live in?

hominid's avatar

Sorry, missed this…

@MarvinPowell: “As I already explained, most people use it as a generic insult, completely unrelated to homosexuals (even if some do use it related to this). ”

This is factually incorrect in my area of the country, although it’s possible that where you live this is different. If you walk around as an adult in my town calling movies “gay”, you’ll stand out. Not in some Fox News liberal fantasy type of way. People just would be unable to understand you. And it would be natural to assume that you are either simple folk who is unaware of the words you are using, or you are aware and you are an awful person.

Since you are not aware that this is the reaction you might get in New England, wouldn’t it be worth your time to understand that the “context” you are so excited about has to take into account the current meaning of words within a region/socioeconomic class?

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GloPro's avatar

@MarvinPowell I will acknowledge that my blunt personality has cost me friendships, jobs, etc. A lot of people just aren’t sure how to take me. But the friendships I have are usually stronger than most, because of my thick skin and solid confidence. I am as loyal as the day is long, and if I care for you I will stick up for you and for the things that offend you in my presence. Not because I understand what the big deal is, but because I don’t like to see my friends hurt. I also apologize readily if I have done the offending.
So I agree with your OP. People take offense too easily and should stop butting in so much. People should stop trying so hard to force change, and instead be the change and encourage others to follow suit.

FlyingWolf's avatar

I don’t think all the kids these days are offended by these slurs of which you speak. I don’t even really think the number of people offended is appreciably greater than it ever has been. I think the difference is that the “slurs” reach a much bigger audience and with a bigger audience there are more people available to be offended. When someone says something that can be considered offensive, a certain number of people in their orbit are going to take offense and say so out loud. When someone says something that can be considered offensive on the internet, their audience is much bigger and by extension, the number of people potentially offended also increases.

That being said, if is offensive to use retard, gay, gimp etc. as derogatory terms for people, actions, movies, etc. It is whether you (or anyone else) like it or not. @hominid nails it, when one uses a term that is used to describe a certain group of people (i.e. retard) as a derogatory comment to describe something else, it is offensive to members of that group. It isn’t being politically correct not to use these terms in that way, it is being a thoughtful, considerate person. Honestly, the English language is broad enough that there are plenty of colorful negative describers there is really no need to use words that offend large groups of people.

As for the #cancelcolbert movement, let’s face it Comedy Central screwed up by posting that tweet with zero context. The way it was handled was just asking for trouble. Although at this point good old Suey needs to just let it go.

MarvinPowell's avatar

I discussed this, already. “But what one small minority of people thinks is “offensive” doesn’t speak for the rest of society. Especially when you add in geography and location into the mix. I live on the East Coast of the US, so I imagine words like “gay” and “retard” are likely WAY more commonly used here than in Southern California, which has a larger hyper-liberal community, many of whom happen to be homosexuals. Thus, there is a larger chance some people might take offense to that, even if they are still in the minority.”

So yes. Inner city Philadelphia is very much unlike New England, I suppose.

“I’m beginning to suspect that your question is related to some “uneasy” experience that you have had here.’

Not at all, but some people here have only proved my point about this. As for “constructive criticism,” that is pretty rare, nowadays. I personally love constructive criticism, myself. But few people seem capable of both receiving it, or giving it.

And for the umpteenth time, I was mostly referring to THIS:

Suey Park –

Melody Hensley. Claims she got PTSD from fucking Twitter. And wants to legally go after war veterans who feel she isn’t taking it seriously:

And let’s not forget this whiny shit:

gorillapaws's avatar

I think you’ll enjoy this.

bolwerk's avatar

The most “hyper-sensitive and PC” people are the authoritarians (self-acclaimed political conservatives), who I guess you think of more as “yesterday’s generation” even if they tend to have more influence than their numbers warrant.

hominid's avatar

@MarvinPowell: “I discussed this, already. “But what one small minority of people thinks is “offensive” doesn’t speak for the rest of society.”

I’m not objecting to your use of the term in this way because it’s “offensive”. However, what it tells me about the speaker is likely not the message the speaker is intending to communicate. You came here all concerned that your message was getting lost. You attributed this to some kind of politically-correct hypersensitivity. All I’m trying to point out is that you are using sentences that are failing to do what they are supposed to do: communicate your intentions and ideas.

@MarvinPowell: “So yes. Inner city Philadelphia is very much unlike New England, I suppose.”

Keep in mind that inner city Philadelphia’s use of the word “gay” may not be as different as New England’s. If it were, you wouldn’t be asking us why “today’s generation is hyper-sensitive and pc”. You’d be asking us why that new Robocop movie was so gay, and then we’d come to this point here and you’d be learning something new about how that term is used elsewhere.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@GloPro It took me quite a long time to learn how to ignore random offensive words and take criticism positively. Thanks to Dr. Jelly :D

I still receive criticism from some here. But I don’t view them in the negative light anymore. I think Dr. Jelly kind of help me grow up.

@MarvinPowell I have never been to Twitter, so I don’t have any comment for the link you send me, sorry. But can I ask you a question: what is the difference between the links I gave you and this shit?

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FlyingWolf's avatar

Melody Hensley is clearly a freak who needs to delete her Twitter app, shut her mouth, and stop using something as real and devastating ad Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to gain her 15 minutes of fame.

@MarvinPowell what percentage of the population does a group represent before we stop using a slang term for that group in a negative manner? I don’t see how the number of people who fit a set of criteria relates to whether or not we should worry about offending that group of people. Maybe whether or not the term is used is related to how much noise they make about the term be used that way. In that case there is the answer to the original question. People are so PC these days because they would like to be treated with respect and not have things that are a real part of their every day existence routinely carry such negative connotations.

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MarvinPowell's avatar

“Keep in mind that use of the word “gay” may not be as different as New England’s. If it were, you wouldn’t be asking us why “today’s generation is hyper sensitive and PC”.”

No. You’re making assumptions, again. Assuming your worldview is what the world views. Here, almost no one is bothered by words. I think bullets, sharp blades, and other weapons tend to be more of an issue. Whining and bitching about words that bother you in this city is literally enough to get you killed. Literally, someone will shoot on the train and leave you to die if that is your threshold to bother someone. And the news will be there to film it all. If you speak up against some stranger on the train and irritate him because he said “gay” in a negative way, there’s a very good chance someone will be sent to the ER.

So maybe I’m just from a not-as-soft as the average person. Or maybe I just realize most words someone could say are irrelevant in losing your shit over and that they’re both harmless and not worth the arguing. Or both? Or none. Who knows?

“If it were, you wouldn’t be asking us why today’s generation is hyper sensitive and PC.”

Another horrible flawed argument. As I said about a billion times now, Suey Park and her bunch is what inspired the question. I just know pretty much ANY word nowadays can be seen as offending in some way. Some feminists think the word “mankind” is offensive because it has “man” in it. So shuld we ban the word “mankind” now? Or ban the word “cool” because it offends Eskimos? Or ban the word “hot” because it offends those who live at the equator? Let’s ban the word “ass” because it is derogatory to donkeys. Or better yet, let’s ban “butt” because it hurts the cigarette company. Let’s ban damn near every word so no one can ever be offended ever again!

And that Robocop reboot was pretty damn [censored for your protection].

The difference is nobody takes that shit seriously. People like Suey Park shouldn’t be taken seriously either, but others do take her nonsense seriously.

“What percentage of the population does a group represent before we stop using a slang term for that group in a negative manner? I don’t see how the number of people who fit a set of criteria relates to whether or not we should worry about offending that group of people.”

The problem is, quite literally, anything and everything can be made “offensive” somehow. Are we supposed to now police every little word we say because some random housewife in Ohio might get offended? (In a sensible world, the answer would be) No! That’s silly and ridiculous! As I said, context matters more that words. Like that Robocop example some people lost their shit over and instantly jumped the gun to mean “homophobic.” As I said, I was taught to ignore things that bother you, unless it is persistent (as in, “bullying”). Otherwise, you are letting people control you. Is someone supposed to flip out, lose their mind, and get arrested every time they hear a word that may be offensive to them? Are people supposed to be dependent on others in how they feel and don’t feel? Is that the society we live in, where people can’t think for themselves and control their own thoughts, actions, and emotions? Do people seriously think we are to be dependent on whatever someone says to us or doesn’t say in order to feel the emotions we do?

As I said, the one thing that is lost on me is this. It would take a hell of a lot for me to lose my cool by someone’s words. Most of the time, I laugh at them. The only time I ever get bothered by anything if it is sheer stupidity. (Because the world can be stupid enough, as it is. We don’t need people adding to it.)

Not that I am trolling, but I’d rather be a troll than a thin-skinned whiny pussy any day, Mr. Lyons. Note: I was talking about a cranky hairless cat, Word Police. (Loopholes!)

Ha ha! Yes. This expresses my view perfectly. THANK YOU!

thorninmud's avatar

Some “political correctness” is just smart communication skills. If your choice of words immediately closes the door to being heard by someone, then you’ve already failed in the task of communication even if your essential message is valid. The consolation prize may be some satisfaction in having said exactly what you wanted to say, but so what? The message itself failed to launch.

JLeslie's avatar

@hominid Incorrect. When someone says a movie is gay, they mean the movie is stupid. Gay people have the right to not want the word that identifies them also mean stupid, I can repeat their desire for gay not be used in a negative way. If people think saying a movie is gay means the movie is homosexual that is blatantly wrong. Why would I lie to you about what the word gay means in that context? I am agreeing gay should not be used that way anymore, but I am not going to let gay people feel it is an assault on them when someone uses the term for stupid and dorky things, because it simply is not the case.

Next time someone uses how about you ask someone, “what do you mean by gay?” And give them a chance to define it for the sentence. You can tell them it isn’t PC and some people are offense since it also means homosexual, educate them, but at least give them a chance to explain their intent so you will learn what their intent was. Maybe you don’t care? You just want it to stop and want to assume what is in their mind.

Edit: Let me say incorrect where I grew up. At 6 years old I had no idea what a homosexual was, and I also did not think in terms of boy and girl clothing, movies, etc. We used gay to describe stupid things.

hominid's avatar

@MarvinPowell: “Here, almost no one is bothered by words.”

Well, at least one person is bothered by words enough to come here to fluther and announce his disapproval of how language is used.

@MarvinPowell: “I just know pretty much ANY word nowadays can be offended. Some feminists think the word “mankind” is offended because it has “man” in it.”

Are you that busy that you have no time to put into perfecting the tools you use (language) so that you are communicating exactly what you want to communicate – and nothing else?

It sounds like you’re simply objecting to the fact that words have meanings, and are simply wishing you could string any words together and people would know what you mean. This is just not going to work. I can’t replace the word “toilet” with “nigger” and not expect some repercussions. If I protested that I should be able to make this because I didn’t mean any harm by it, everyone here would correctly ask me why I was so intent on using “nigger” to mean “toilet”. If I mean toilet, shouldn’t I use that word?

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JLeslie's avatar

@hominid Nigger has never meant toilet. That is not analogous. I personally think nigger should never be used except when discussing literature, history, or saying to tell people not to say it. It isn’t that I think all words are fair game and no one should worry about how they affect people. I think the black community using the word is a huge mistake. I never hear a Jewish person use the word Kike and I hope I never do. I think probably most people under the age of 30 don’t even know what Kike means. I’m glad. Let that word die.

hominid's avatar

@JLeslie: ”@hominid Incorrect….”

I can’t respond to this comment because it seems to be directed at someone else altogether and is not related to anything I stated.

@JLeslie: ”@hominid Nigger has never meant toilet.”

I think I’m going to sit out this perceived disagreement with what I’m saying. I’m not even sure we’re talking about the same thing.

MarvinPowell's avatar

“It sounds like you’re simply objecting to the fact that words have meanings, and are simply wishing you could string any words together and people would know what you mean.”

Incorrect, again. It sounds like you simply wish people would use words only in a way you (and others) would like, regardless of the way they express themselves or where/how they were raised. If that is the case, no one should be allowed to speak in non-English languages or have accents or dialects or slang, either.

And is “nigger” to “toilet” is yet another poor argument. Check this out. Basic third grade English:

hominid's avatar

@MarvinPowell – Looks like you have it figured out. Are we done here? If you find that your words aren’t doing what you had wished they would, you might want to consider that communication is an exchange of information between people. It doesn’t matter what you think – it matters what you are able to communicate. Good luck!

MarvinPowell's avatar

As I stated, I’ve gotten helpful answers from @ninjacolin, @JLeslie, @gorillapaws and @GloPro. Not simply because I agree with them, but because they get what I am trying to say.

The rest can continue making snap judgments or poor strawman arguments to twist around my actual meanings to better suit their counter-agurments.

JLeslie's avatar

@hominid You wrote:

“Listen, I am rather immune to being offended as I’ve discussed here many times. All I am saying is that saying “That new Robocop movie was pretty gay.” communicates something very specific today:
– The speaker didn’t like the movie.
– The speaker either:
a) Likes using the term for homosexuality to describe things s/he doesn’t like.
b) Is unaware that s/he is using a term for homosexuality to describe things s/he doesn’t like.”

My response to that is. Incorrect. Some people use gay to mean a movie is stupid when talking about a movie and also use Gay to mean homosexual when talking about homosexuals, and they use them separately to mean different things. Where we agree is if someone points out to them gay people today take offense to gay being used in any way except synonmously with homosexual then you can teach that person why the way they use it has fallen out of favor.

I can’t help the gay community chose a word that moved from meaning happy, gleeful, carefree, sexually carefree, stupid, and dorky in the past depending on which decade and maybe even some of it has to do with what region of the country you lived in. I never heard gay when I was a little girls living in NY, but they used it in MD where I moved to while still in elementary school. I hear kids use it in FL, and they are children who are not prejudiced against gay people. I think they should not use the word that way, we agree on that.

English has many many words with multiple meanings. The meanings can be completely different. I feel fine. The fine for littering is $50. That girl looks fine. There are a zillion examples like this in English. I am not saying using gay to describe something negative is ok, I don’t think it is, especially today with how the word has evolved and how it makes gay people feel.

The African American community didn’t adopt a word with so much history behind it, they are trying to shed old words and phrases for ones that are to them more accurate or more acceptable. Many of my black friends don’t identify with African American, I have more than one white friend who does.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@MarvinPowell actually, I would see letting people take something that describes me and co-opting it as a negative slur more as letting those people control me than standing up for myself and telling them I what they are doing is offensive. Should people be arrested for calling something they don’t like gay or retarded? No. Should they be told that the way they are using that term is offensive? Yes. Not wanting to hear something called retarded when it is meant to carry negative meaning isn’t letting anyone control my thoughts, feelings, and emotions, it is setting boundaries. Why should anyone get away with using slurs just because they are too lazy to find language that is not stereotyping and marginalizing an entire group of people (no matter the size of the group).

I think there are people who want to be able to shoot their mouths off in the name of being “blunt” or “honest” and when called out try to turn things around by tossing out words like “politically correct”. It is kind of like the bully who tells their victim “I was just kidding” when they are asked to stop.

Also, let’s be honest here, you point out the helpful answers because those people agree with you. I get what you are trying to say, I just happen to disagree with you.

zenvelo's avatar

It’ not a matter of “PC”, it’s a matter of having respect, and not disrespecting others.

syz's avatar

@MarvinPowell That’s pretty big chip you’ve got on your shoulder.

And I disagree with your premise – I don’t find “today’s generation” to be “hyper-sensitive and PC”.

syz (35649points)“Great Answer” (6points)
El_Cadejo's avatar

@gorillapaws Damnit. As soon as I read this question I went to youtube to find that link. :P

MarvinPowell's avatar

Disagreeing is fine. Even telling someone how you feel is fine. Its the issue of taking a moral high ground and assuming your opinion on the matter is simply the “right” one is what I have an issue with. And trying to “control” how others behave to adhere to your specific opinion. Being the “thought and word police.” Especially when they are speaking “on the behalf” of someone, assuming the word bothers a group of people, but not knowing, either way.

If someone honestly told me a specific word bothered them that I used, and the word was something I could go without saying, I’d stop saying it. But it’d be me making the choice to respect their wishes, not someone trying to “demand” I do something because they don’t like it or else, they’ll huff and puff and cry and hold their breath until I do what they say. If I used a word that I use everyday, and someone told me it bothered them that I used that word, I’d consider to stop using it around them. But if its an everyday word I do not see any offense in, I am not going to stop altogether using it just because one person does.

A request and a demand makes a big difference.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @zenvelo that it has to do at least partly with respect. Out of respect we should want to not say things that hurt other people. Sometimes it is baffling why the other person is hurt, because we know our intent was not to be hurtful.

My point would be, if the person doesn’t realize it is hurtful we need to let them know why so they change what words they choose.

I think a good example is whether to use Indian or Native American, and in addition to that whether it is ok to have mascots with Native American references. When I see the Washington Redskins, well, I lived outside of DC and Washington loves their team. Logically that means they don’t have a negative connotation assocatied with their team or mascot. They are not using Redskin negatively. But, some Native Americans take great offense. Some Native Americans prefer to still be called Indians. Usually I say the most important voice is the minority it references, but shouldn’t minority also be understanding that no harm is intended. Just so they know. Just so they can not feel hated, but rather that this is just an ignorance on the part of the other person to understand why it is offensive.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@MarvinPowell I am confused by the whole “moral high ground” argument. I don’t see wanting to be respectful and considerate of people and advocating for the same is taking the moral high ground.

Again, sharing my opinion about the use of a certain term isn’t an attempt to be part of the “thought police” it is an attempt to set my own personal boundaries. I do not have an intellectual disability, but that does not keep me from cringing when I hear someone being referred to as a retard and I have every right to say I would rather not hear that word used in a derogatory manner.

Also, using a word in a certain way just because it has become an “everyday word” is a lot closer to not controlling one’s own thoughts and actions than requesting that someone not use a term that is offensive to them.

We are in agreement about the need for respect in both directions. Demanding that someone behave in a certain way rarely gets the desired result and typically causes more discord.

MarvinPowell's avatar

“Demanding that someone behave in a certain way rarely gets the desired result and typically causes more discord.”

That was basically my original point with the question, to begin with. “Being “offended” doesn’t give someone special rights or privileges.” Getting offended typically means demanding someone change for someone else, regardless of how the offender feels about it.

“Oh? You’re offended? Well so-fucking-what?”
Stephen Fry

There’s also a big difference between “offensive” and “offended.” “Offended” doesn’t mean anything. It has no right to be taken seriously and is completely and entirely subjective. It is solely up to an individual and how seriously they take another’s words. “Offensive” however is typically well known to be negative or always used in a way to hurt others.

What words are widely seen as “offensive” (nigger) and ones someone may be “offended” by, but are not offensive to all (gay) is where it gets murky, and where the offended tries to overstep their feelings over others freedoms and rights to express themselves however they want.

If I said “Nazis were horrible people” or “the Al Queda terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center were scum,” that is technically a disrespectful thing to say. Does it mean I’m now not allowed to say it though, because I might upset some Nazi or Middle Eastern terrorist? The only difference is, most people would agree with what is being said. Which makes it okay to be “not offensive.”

If I call something “gay,” only certain individuals are going to think its disrespectful. And as I said, I don’t change every little thing I do to appease others. Words like “gay” and “retarded” are so common (around here), they’re not going to go away just because one California liberal LGBT supporter – or many – doesn’t like it. Maybe if I was in California at the time, I’d be more likely to do so. Out of respect and fitting in, but not in an area where almost no one is disrespected by it. The minority doesn’t always get its way.

The point is, something that potentially offends someone isn’t automatically “offensive” and its usage or acceptance isn’t automatically determined by the offended party. There are WAY too many words in the English language that could rub people the wrong way for that to be done all the time. Maybe in the most extreme offenses, for the most extremely offensive words, it would be okay to suggest they stop using them. But as I said, words are meaningless without context. Saying “gay” in a context unrelated to homosexuals isn’t going to make me stop saying it because one might possibly be offended by it. To put it bluntly, “FUCK. THAT.”

No, I personally would not stop using “gay” or “retard.” They’re too common in English vocabulary slang, been around too long, and I don’t think of homosexual men or mentally ill people when using them, the same way I don’t with the word “slow.” (And I don’t even use the words that often.) Get over it. Move on with your life. If that offends you, tough cookies. That’s freedom of speech. You have the right to be offended, but you can’t do anything with it but complain. Call me whatever you like if it makes you feel morally superior (like Mr. Manchild Lyons). But you won’t control my vocabulary because you’re butthurt over words. Like little children.
(Again, the general “you” usage.)

FlyingWolf's avatar

@MarvinPowell I misunderstood then. I thought your original point was that when someone hears something they consider offensive, they should toughen up, grow a thicker skin, and quit complaining.

Coloma's avatar

I am pretty damn PC, out of respect, and because I am more liberal minded than not, however, that said, I do find the whole non-gender indentification thing to be over the top and refuse to address someones infant as an “it”.
Also being in my 50’s now I have a problem with people that are hypersensitive about their age and can’t handle a joke about getting old.
I have a 26 yr. old daughter and while we both are intelligent and humorous women I do not find her generation to be hyper-sensitive.

Unless you are blatantly disrespectful, use sexual and racial slurs, I don’t see why this should even be an issue. You don’t have to respond if you think someone is being hyper-sensitive, just smile and move on.

tinyfaery's avatar

Maybe the new generation wants to be kind and generous to all people and are trying to create a world without offense and discrimination. Just a thought.

bolwerk's avatar

The new generation should be starting wars and running up credit card bills. Like the old generation.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@MarvinPowell so basically you spent six paragraphs explaining why you have every intention of letting the crowd control your thoughts and actions. If the “crowd” says it’s ok to use gay, retard, or any other word as a derogatory term, then you’ll go with it, regardless of how it may offend some people.

I’m curious, why do you think the n word came to be viewed as universally offensive? Was it because people who were offended when it was directed toward them grew a thicker skin, stopped pushing their “political correctness” on other people, and didn’t complain? I’m thinking it was because people who found the word offensive spoke up and kept doing so until there was a necessary paradigm shift.

Berserker's avatar

I always wondered if passed generations were any different than mine. Public expression today is easy with the Internet, while any generation who didn’t have it were not able to make themselves known to a wide audience. (unless they became famous, like George Carlin or something)

With so many different people and so many different ideas mingling together, a lot of things are going to happen, although I’m not entirely sure if the recent generations are wussing up. Granted, being politically correct seems to be a thing now, in which you can be as mean and insulting as you want, as long as you don’t use words like shellshock or fuck.

But looking at the grand scale of things, this is minor…war, conflict and disagreement have always existed, and they define mankind if you ask me. The methods used to do it may change, but the nature itself remains the same, large or small scale. I mean, today you have to say ’‘happy holidays’’ so you don’t offend anyone, but back in the fifties, if you were a homosexual, forget telling anyone. Some shit’s worse, some shit’s better, but all that shit exists and is an issue because someone somewhere doesn’t like something. Maybe people only seem wussier today because we have more freedom in what we say than back when you actually had to watch what you said.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
laineybug's avatar

I’m just going to say this and this only, then I’m out. @MarvinPowell get over yourself. It’s a matter of respect to try to not offend people. And people of the last generation weren’t any less offended by these words, they were just quieter about it so they wouldn’t be persecuted. Using the term “gay” as an insult is literally saying being gay is insulting, and gee I wonder how people are offended by that? Just because you don’t think something is offensive doesn’t mean it isn’t. How would you like it if someone thought something was bad and said “ha ha wow that movie was so @MarvinPowell! It was the worst!”? Do you think it would feel nice? Do you think you would feel accepted? And honestly it doesn’t matter whether or not you were trying to be offensive, you still are and you are still in the wrong. So like I said earlier, get over yourself.

BhacSsylan's avatar

In reference to Melody Hensley, though it is generally applicable: It’s always lovely when armchair psychologists decide for themselves what counts as a real PTSD diagnosis. We live in such a wonderful age when just anyone can say what actually causes PTSD and not give a damn about what actual psychologists say about the subject, much less the psychiatrist actually in contact with the subject. It’s certainly not like people in the Army were denigrated as being ‘oversensitive’ and failure to have been weaned properly from their mothers before PTSD was accepted as a real diagnosis, or that soldiers suffering PTSD from bullet fire were attacked as taking focus from the ‘real’ suffers, those that had come under artillery fire. No, that certainly never happened.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Darth_Algar's avatar

“That new Robocop movie is so nigger.”

You shouldn’t be offended by that. I’m using it as a general insult in no way connected to black people. I don’t don’t even think of blacks when I use the word “nigger”, it’s just how people in my area talk. If you’re offended by that they you’re an over-sensitive, cry-baby, PC pussy and should grow a thicker skin.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Haleth's avatar

I think a couple things are going on.

Some people in this generation are earnestly embracing progressive values. A lot of the things our parents’ and grandparents’ generation did make them seem like bigoted, ignorant assholes. It’s actually not that hard to be clever, funny, or make your point, without using language that hurts other people. If you make a joke at someone’s expense, because of a disadvantage they were born into, there’s nothing edgy or smart about it.

On the other hand, the self-esteem generation and the internet have created something called special snowflake syndrome. It’s where people compete for attention, and the main kind of attention they want is people feeling sorry for them. In certain circles, one very fast way to get brownie points for this sort of thing, is to say that someone was bigoted toward you. I think most of these people are probably in high school, but whatever, they have a lot of time on their hands to whine on tumblr, and it gives the rest of us a bad name.

On the other other hand, a lot of old bigots like to point this as a blanket excuse to keep up their old ways. If all young people are whiny special little snowflakes, then it’s easy to say that the message behind it is just a bunch of whining. When really, it’s just an effort to be less shitty to other people, because positive action makes the world a better place. It’s not that hard to be less of an asshole.

One “anonymous” person put it pretty well. “So what racists call ‘politically correct’ is just what the rest of us call ‘correct,’ right?”

Haleth's avatar

Missing link above after the word anonymous above. That made it look like I’m using scare quotes there, and I’m not.

Coloma's avatar

Hey…us 60’s and 70’s peeps are responsible for everything that has led up to now. We were the progressives that got the PC ball rolling way back when now. Championing civil rights, gay rights, womens rights, environmental issues, on & on. :-D

MarvinPowell's avatar

Great answer! Thank you.

Thank you for the (rare) on-topic response.

Ha ha! Yeah! That movie was nigger as hell! LOL! Hollywood loves to put out so many movies that are just so damn nigger!

You personify my point about PC crybabies perfectly. I am now going to go out of my way to be an asshole, simply because you’re so whiny about it and I would love nothing more than to piss in the coffee of thin-skinned crybabies. Why? Because there’s nothing more fun than rattling those who are too weak to think for themselves or rely on others to feel good or bad about themselves. So I disregard your answer. It was pretty gay. Now go run to mommy and call me a bunch of bad names like “jerk, bully, and insensitive asshole!” cause I used the word “gay.”

Yeah. I should be the one to get over myself?

“It’s actually not that hard to be clever, funny, or make your point, without using language that hurts other people.”

No it IS, when everybody, everywhere, has something to cry or whine about. “Don’t use ‘human.’ Its disrespectful to womyn because it has ‘man’ in it!” “Don’t say ‘ass.’ It disrespects donkeys out there and uses their name as an insult!” “Don’t say ‘stupid,’ as it disrespects those of lesser-intelligence and IQ!” “Don’t say anything at all unless I personally approve of it! Only I control what you’re allowed to say!”

…Yeah. Life is too short for that. I’m not some old 65 year old bigot. I’m 27 and of the age of Tumblrettes and Suey Parks. I’ll limit my usage of words that may be offensive to many people, but I wouldn’t ever change every single little thing I say for every single person looking for something to whine or piss their pants about. They can cry all they want, but I don’t let others control me. I am a decent person and that is an indisputable fact. I don’t give a damn if someone doubts that because I am not some politically correct, word police, social justice warrior. I’d rather be less popular than be a social pussy. I don’t need people that soft and sensitive in my daily life.

I want to clarify, I don’t mean saying anything just because someone gets upset over it. Though my issue was more with Suey Park and the other “Special Snowflakes” as Haleth mentioned (didn’t know there were a name for them, so thanks!). I suspect @laineybug is a special snowflake. And maybe @Dan_Lyons if he isn’t just trolling.

Thank you for the well-detailed answer, Haleth.


In all honesty, you shouldn’t control people’s speech! It makes you look weak and soft. If someone really is being offensive, let them and they’ll lose friends and social interaction because of it. But don’t try to control them. Unless you love the idea of limiting all and any free speech you don’t agree with.

Again, let the people you feel are offensive be so, and society will decide their fate. Don’t try to be a Social Justice Warrior or Special Snowflake or Social Nazi.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@MarvinPowell first, your most recent quip shows that you were not really asking a question here, you just wanted to rant and give pats on the back of those who agree with you.

Second, your argument that people who get upset are just going along with the crowd doesn’t jibe with your saying that you will use these words as you see fit because everyone else does.

Finally, the bottom line is that yes, freedom of speech is the law of the land. Yes, you have the right to use as many offensive terms as you want. The flip side is that the people who hear the words have the right to be offended and share their offense out loud. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t order others to shut up just because you want to be able to say anything you want to without repercussions.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@FlyingWolf Great Answer

Coloma's avatar

@FlyingWolf Bowing, bowing, standing ovation!

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
MarvinPowell's avatar


“you can’t order others to shut up just because you want to be able to say anything you want to without repercussions.”

I was never ordering others to shut up. Far from it. That’s an exaggeration. I was just stating how people shouldn’t try to control others speech and how it is futile and a waste of time to dictate how others behave just because an individual personally doesn’t like it. It was a suggestion, not a demand or a request. If I was doing either of those, I’d be a hypocrite. People can express their displeasure at what someone else says, as I stated. However, its when they think they are on some kind of moral high-ground or try to “demand” someone not use words or limit their speech is what I was referring to. Like many of the responders of this question. My generation has a word for that kind of over-sensitive selfish reaction. Its compared to spanking a small child for being disobedient and the child reacting immaturely and being upset for being punished for his actions. I believe we call it “butthurt.”

Secondly, I really was asking a question when I started this. I just didn’t expect the majority of the people to be the ones I was referring to. The types who think they’re feelings are more important than the actions and freedoms or everyone else and that they’re entitled to prohibit people from behaviors simply because they don’t like them. Ironically, I’ve yet to come across one person on here who will like others telling them what to do, yet many who feel the need to judge and demand people like me act a way that they only approve of. Yeah, that shit’s not going to happen. Sorry if you feel people like me are assholes or “rude” because I don’t follow your orders and demands in how to live my own life.

Thirdly, my main point with this was buried long ago, as people would rather complain about harmless words and take it to the most extreme offense. Quite frankly, I find it childish some people are so easily controlled and manipulated by the minor actions of others (such as words), but then again, I made the mistake of thinking I was mostly going to get mature and intelligent people answering. Not… well, fucking crybabies and whiners. There’s no “polite” way to put it. I grew out of the “sticks and stones” phase in grade school. Sad to see some people are still emotionally stunted and rely on others to control their emotions so easily by catering to their fragile feelings. Especially on the goddamn fucking internet! How many of you people new to the World Wide Web or what? There’s not a single thing I’ve said here that is even remotely “offensive” by typical internet standards! How many of you complaining have ever been in a YouTube comment section?

Still never got much of an answer to this. Guess it was my fault for assuming they’re would be enough intelligent, mature people to discuss it and not cry and sob over words that gave them an emotional boo-boo like ‘gay.’ I guess to some people, words are their bullets and sharp, pointy objects. I envy a life so cushy that language is the biggest thing to upset me.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Guess it was my fault for assuming they’re would be enough intelligent, mature people to discuss it”

You know what they say when you ass ume

Darth_Algar's avatar


Based on your postings in this thread I don’t think you have any room speaking of the maturity or intelligence of others. Also it’s pretty apparent that you don’t want actual discussion, you just want us to validate your own asshole-ish behavior.

MarvinPowell's avatar

Cool story, bro.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@MarvinPowell sir, the only person in this thread not displaying the intelligence and maturity to discuss the subject is the OP. What you clearly want is the right to say whatever you want and not have others take offense. You can puff it up with all kinds of rhetoric, blabber on endlessly, and insult anyone who disagrees, but that won’t change your stance or make it any more palatable.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You can puff it up with all kinds of rhetoric, blabber on endlessly, and insult anyone who disagrees,

@FlyingWolf sounds incredibly intelligent.

seekingwolf's avatar

I have not read this whole thread but I have to say, I agree with OP’s first post.

I’m 24 and I am really starting to hate my generation. Really, the whole lot of them is embarrassing. It is important not to confuse “polite” and “good-natured” and “charity” with these people, because so many of them are indeed not these things. Being PC is not about being polite, it’s about self-censorship for appearances and a game of semantics. No one actually really cares about offending other people. However, being “offensive” is very uncool these days, so everyone is playing the PC game to get by.

I really don’t have many friends because I don’t associate with these ultra-liberal PC types. I had to deal with them in college. It’s tiring to have to know all of the socially-appropriate “buzz words” and to constantly watch what you say. My generation has no sense of humour either, so watch out.

Look, it’s pretty simple in life. Just don’t be a d*ck to others, be considerate of others’ feelings, and if you disagree with someone, don’t get all puffy and go “I’M OFFENED!” like every other human on earth has to agree with you. Just shrug it off and move on. My generation doesn’t get this. They are too busy playing semantics and trying to get the upper hand by being “offended” and calling people out.

It’s a waste of time.

It’s best to just not associate with these people. Disengage, move on.

seekingwolf's avatar

BTW, I’m not advocating for people to be name-calling. That’s wrong. I hear people use the word “gay” as an insult from time to time. I just don’t feel that it’s that bad. Is it wrong? Yes, it’s incorrect, but let’s not act like it’s on the same level of offensiveness as “fag”. I think calling someone a “fag” to their face is very inflammatory and wrong, but I definitely think less of a gay person who chooses to have a scene because someone misused the word “gay” as an insult
To use a personal example, I am still obese, and I hear people say derogatory things about fat people and being fat too. You don’t see me getting all bent out of shape, calling people out, and then going online and crying about it.

People really need to grow thicker skins.

zenvelo's avatar

@seekingwolf If you don’t want to be a dick, great! That means not accepting someone’s put down of another person. It’s not about growing a thicker skin when you get insulted, it’s about standing up for justice when someone else is being insulted.

And the only people who use the term “PC” (like the OP) are people who don’t respect others.

seekingwolf's avatar


Part of growing up is learning to pick your battles. I’m sorry, I’m not going to get all bent out of shape and cause a scene because someone is being insensitive about fat. There are far better things to do with my time and much bigger things to be angry about in life.

PC is (sadly) a real phenomenon. I do respect others and am considered to be very polite in real life, and I think PC is bullsh*t. I don’t use all the new, stupid buzzwords. I just keep my mouth shut and do not say anything at all. Serves me well.

seekingwolf's avatar

You are welcome to play “Social Justice Squad” but many of us don’t want to do that and don’t want to get into petty fights that will never solve anything. I was bullied through most of my schooling years and never had anyone stand up for me, but I am not bitter about that. I’m glad I had the thick skin to get through with it. Had “Social Justice Squads” been around when I was in school, maybe I’d be like most of my generation, who knows. So in a way, I’m thankful that I am not.

So much of life is learning how to deal with adversity. You can’t always rely on people to come to your rescue, or for you to cry “offended!” and to punish the other person. We all need to learn how to rely on ourselves for dealing with people that we don’t agree with.

Ugh, I’m not going to continue this farther. I’m out. unfollows

Darth_Algar's avatar


That’s swell, but this thread isn’t really about “social justice squads” so much as it’s about the OP wanting others to validate his dick behavior.

wildpotato's avatar

Relevant. Also, hilarious.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@wildpotato Heh, made me think of this

wildpotato's avatar

@El_Cadejo Good stuff

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