It seems like we, the people, just woke up one day and were tightly wrapped with the Cloak of Sensitivity. Areas we once boldly trekked, we’ve now vocally become hushed about. Things we’ve frequently joked about or taken lightly in the comfort of “we’re-just-playing”, we no longer allow – no longer subscribing to what was once the obvious “you-know-I’m-not-serious!”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for free speech, hell, it’s the right of everyone. However, it seems that issues form when exercising this right. Particularly, one’s right in voicing opinions, beliefs, or things felt strongly about. Now, as technology, communication, and society have progressed, people have easily been able to share their ideas and views, but the thing is, it has also become increasingly difficult to stay in good status with others as defensive modes spring quickly to life. In recent years, the verdict has been in: No one can please everyone. I mean, we went from shows like Boondocks to a constant response of “Please Stop.”
Let’s chop it up!
While admittedly, “technology has made modern life better in many ways,” as told by The Spartan Shield specifying that “it has also placed a “screen of protection” between people with opposing ideas.” The online publication continues, “When people see others with the same views, they suddenly see their opinion as fact. You see, there is always (always) someone who will oppose another’s viewpoint or have a differing opinion on a heated topic.” Though, the difference I suppose in the world of 2022 is the way people react to opinions that aren’t their own. Hm, think Twitter. On that very vocal platform, many think pieces have emerged within 280 characters per tweet over the simplest of opinions. Something that Spencer Brecht has said and has stuck with me since hearing it is this: “Everyone has the freedom of speech (to an extent), but often people focus more on the right to be offended than the right to free speech.” I believe that people need to understand the difference between criticism and insults”. Think jokes.
Now, when people take offense to jokes it’s not because they’re soft, more times than not, said person probably peeped some snake-type thing (but what i really wanna say is “snake shit”) woven between your words. It’s not that they can’t take a joke, far from. They’ve just begun to see that there are ulterior meanings in what they now deem synthetic jokes. Such an instance of this occurred in 2014 which featured Eric Bolling of Fox News, Mariam Al Mansouri, and the wrong choice of words. In September of 2014 while on air, he said during a segment about the first female UAE fighter pilot, Mariam Al Mansouri, “Does this count as boobs on the ground?” He was 100 per cent forced to make an apology for his wordplay on “boots on the ground”. According to a very unimpressed publication, Meta Pass, “Not only does that comment reek of misogyny, but it sexualizes her and reduces her accomplishments to nothing. So of course, women are not dying to hear more oppressive, sexist “jokes” that set them back. Of course, people could laugh at these jokes and “not take them too seriously,” but no longer are the days where we accept ignorance and misogyny as the norm.” Singing along with the tune of saying whatever they want without a care about the target of their speech’s feelings: Comedians.
It’s like they get a hall pass. Well, until they don’t. Let’s take Dave Chappelle for example, in a special he was featured in, he said it’s on the comedian to take it that far. He stated that it is indeed their job as comedians to say the things others won’t. They’re to make a beeline for that type of content. This brings me to the infamous Will Smith and Chris Rock Oscar’s moment. Slapgate. When Chris Rock cracked a joke at the expense of Will’s wife’s shaved head, Will was not a fan. So much so, he took to the stage and slapped Chris Rock across the face. The joke was a nod to her likeness in looks to the character, G.I Jane. Though, with his wife suffering from alopecia, Smith said “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.” On the other hand, people do push the things-you-shouldn’t-say button. They say eyebrow-raising things to deliberately upset people, they do it for attention, and to even pull a reaction from people who are easily manipulated into giving them.
In 2020, data showed that the most sensitive of the lot are the Gen-Z population (born 1997 to 2012) as they’ve been voted most likely to “be offended and overly sensitive to speech.” Four thousand Americans were asked two questions: ‘Do people need to be more careful about the language they use to avoid offending those with different backgrounds?’ OR ‘Are too many people too easily offended these days over the language that others use?’ Many feel that despite not having intricate knowledge of a topic, it’s important to share their opinion. This has definitely contributed directly to “cancel culture”. They’re saying, “Students are now indoctrinated to be offended by everything,”
In closing, it was reported by Ideapod that from a study conducted, it was gathered that “people from the US, UK, Germany, and France were asked whether people today are too easily offended by what others say or whether people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others. Opinions appeared to be largely split. In the USA, results say that 57% of people today are too easily offended by what others say and 40% of people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others. In Germany, 45% think people today are too easily offended by what others say and 40% think people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others. Over in France, consensus is that 52% of people today are too easily offended while 46% believe people should be careful what they say to avoid offending others. Lastly, in the UK, 53% of the population are in the camp that believes people today are too easily offended and 44% think that people should be more careful what they say.
What the research does seem to suggest however, is that generally speaking, the majority of people do have some concerns that society could be becoming overly sensitive.” Like I said, we’ve pretty much moved from Boondocks to “Please Stop 😩.”