Thursday, December 20, 2018

What Offends People

We live in a society where someone is always doing something that offends someone else. Some of this is warranted and some is trivial. Some recent examples:

-          In Los Angeles a mural on a school wall was protested by Koreans because the background had rays that reminded them of the Japanese rising sun flag and the atrocities committed by Japan on Koreans.

-          Listeners objecting to the song, Baby It’s Cold Outside, indicating it supports sexual harassment.

-          At Stanford University, campus locations using the name Serra, referring to Father Serra, are being changed because of the treatment of indigenous people by Father Serra.

-          Confederate statues are being moved or taken down.

-          Mystery Writers of America announcing Linda Fairstein as a recipient of a Grand Masters award and then rescinding it after member protest over Fairstein’s role in prosecuting innocent men

-          President Trump has made offensive comments and gestures about women, a disabled reporter, Mexicans, immigrants and people who disagree with him.
Here’s my take. The Mystery Writers of America example is one that should never have happened. The Masters Award is intended for people with a life time commitment to the principals of Mystery Writers of America and their contribution to mystery writing. The Mystery Writers of America Board didn’t do the appropriate due diligence and vetting before selecting Linda Fairstein
The mural in Los Angeles was going to be painted over and most recently was going to be allowed to stay. I think this is appropriate. The reason: the intent of the picture was not to glorify WWII Japan and its atrocities. The artist was using color and form for artistic expression not to represent anything about Japan.
On the other hand, the Confederate statues were erected to glorify the Confederacy and what it stood for. This intent is a more valid reason for concern.
Baby It’s Cold Outside is too trivial an example of being offended. There are definitely many valid examples of sexual harassment that need to be addressed, but this is not one of them.
The Father Serra situation is a difficult one since he did good as well as bad.
President Trump’s actions are concerning because of his intent to intimidate, belittle, bully and disparage. These go counter to values most Americans are trying to teach their children and grandchildren to follow and respect.
What do you think?

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