“Lighten Up” and other Dismissals People Use

Teri Drake-FloydPerspectives24 Comments

Ok, I admit it. I’m the type of woman who gets in a lot of debates (read: arguments) on Facebook and other Internet forums, IRL and basically everywhere, about topics I feel strongly about. Pick your poison: politics, religion, women’s issues, health care, financial topics, weight issues, child care and parenting, vegetarianism, immigration, the local economy, you name it. You’re pretty much guaranteed that if there is a kafuffle about some particular topic of discussion in my group of friends and acquaintances, I’m right there in the middle stating my opinion.

My husband jokes that I like to start shitstorms for a living, and while that might not be too far from the truth, I think my intentions are a little better than that. I don’t shy away from a good shitstorm, true – but I’m not just addicted to drama. I don’t enjoy shaking people down or trying to cause disagreements purely for sport. I simply don’t feel the need to censor myself for the comfort of others. I’m always polite, kind and inclusive in discussions – but I don’t beat around the bush. I think it is important to be outspoken in your world, and to always point out when you see an example of injustice, prejudice or cruelty around you, even when it is an unpopular opinion, or when it’s more convenient and agreeable to stay silent.

Since I’m outspoken, and more than willing to say the things other people would are afraid to, I’ve been called out more than once for being “bitchy,” “aggressive,” “holier-than-thou,” “self-righteous,” and various other terms that people use to demean those of us who aren’t willing to sit down and shut up. I can’t tell you how many times some annoyed person has lost an argument only to accuse the other of being “on a high horse.” People don’t like it when their wrong behavior is pointed out. They feel threatened, and they strike out. The older I get, and the less patience I have for ignorance and prejudice, the more people seem to be annoyed with me. Apparently I speak out too much. It has become a liability in my social life to an extent.

Recently I bristled at a fat joke on a friend’s thread and was told to “lighten up” when I pointed out its offensiveness. When I pressed further to try to get my opinion heard, the entire thing was turned into a big joke to see who could offend me more. My entire complaint – the fat joke – was reduced to being a “female” thing and completely ignored and belittled.

I hadn’t thought of it as a female issue until that derogatory comparison was made, and then it was like a light bulb had gone off in my head. Suddenly, I was curious. Had a man taken offense to the fat joke instead of me, would he have been dismissed in such a disrespectful manner? Doubtful. His concerns would have been acknowledged, if not agreed with. But because I’m a woman, and one who unabashedly wears a feminist hat and takes up “pet causes” (another term I’ve been blessed with by my lovely, insensitive peers), it’s annoying and the best way to deal with me is to make fun of me and force me to go away.

How many of us have been told to “lighten up” or “chill out” when something offensive hits our ears and we talk about it? That seems like the standard, go-to response for when you know you’ve said something repugnant and just don’t want to deal with it. Tell the person to lighten up and hope they go away without making much of a fuss. People are so lazy these days they can’t even bother to explain themselves when they make a faux pas. Just because it’s a casual atmosphere like Facebook doesn’t mean that you aren’t accountable for the statements you make. If you choose to participate in a public forum and voice your opinions openly, then you must accept responsibility that your words can cause hurt, anger or confusion. You shouldn’t put your words out there if you refuse to hold yourself accountable for them.

I know this firsthand. Just a few weeks ago I used the word “crazy” in an article I wrote for this magazine. I offended more than one person with my use of the word and I faced strong criticism from several readers as well as a reprimand from the editors. Did I tell anybody to “lighten up”? No. Initially, I bristled at the fact that I was being held to task for something when I definitely did not intend to be hurtful. I defended myself and felt sorry for myself for a bit. But then I thought. Not everyone knows me. They don’t know that I have a good heart and would never willfully cause pain or anguish. They just read my piece, saw a word that offended them, and pointed it out. Rightfully so.

So, I apologized sincerely for my use of the word, spoke with fellow writers and peers about why the word was offensive and sought to educate myself further on the topic. If I choose to be a writer, especially one that publishes her work openly on the Internet, I have to be prepared that sometimes, I might accidentally cause offense to someone. When that happens, being gracious and understanding of the person who is offended is so important. Even if you don’t fully understand why they took offense, even if you don’t think what you said is offensive. That doesn’t make their feelings any less invalid. If you refuse to take responsibility for the hurt your words cause, then you lack even the most rudimentary social skills. To be that devoid of compassion for other people’s feelings is something I just can’t fathom.

I’ve been told before that I take everything too seriously, and I’m too quick to get up in arms about things that don’t even affect me. “You don’t belong to (social group) so why do you care about their cause?” That’s just another way of telling someone to “lighten up.” It isn’t that you care that they are outspoken about these things – it’s just that you don’t want to be challenged. You don’t want their eye to fall upon you, lest the flaws in your own character be pointed out and you be forced to examine your behaviors.

But what’s really so wrong about examining your behaviors? I have to examine mine all the time. As quick as I am to admit that I love a good argument and will fight for many causes I believe in, I’m also quick to admit that I have a whole bunch of flaws, say words that I probably shouldn’t, can’t break a few bad habits, and am far from perfect. I’m a work in progress. That’s part of the reason why I care so strongly about social issues, and am so outspoken about things that I care about. I feel like I’m molding my own character, educating myself and becoming a better person every time I talk about important issues with others. It doesn’t mean I’m holier-than-thou, or a ball buster, or an annoying feminist (OK, maybe I am that last one a little bit ). It just means that I care enough to actually put myself out there, face criticism and educate myself and others. I don’t care if I annoy people, or they want me to just be quiet and let them be comfortably ignorant and silent. I’m never going to “lighten up.” I’m just getting started.

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Teri Drake-Floyd

An almost 30-something synestheste, foodie, genealogist and all around proud geek.
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Teri Drake-Floyd“Lighten Up” and other Dismissals People Use

24 Comments on ““Lighten Up” and other Dismissals People Use”

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  1. Avatar of [E] Liza
    [E] Liza

    I recently called out an old friend for making a fat joke — not about a specific person, more like “why do fat people wear workout gear, you’re not fooling anyone!” — and instead of arguing back, he unfriended me. I decided if he has that much hate in his heart and isn’t even willing to debate or learn, I’m probably better off without him.

    But I also called someone out for a similar comment and they were receptive. So sometimes people can learn.

    1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
      Teri Drake-Floyd

      I like to think people can…I definitely am living proof that you can call attention to something offensive and sometimes people will actually learn from you and change. It can be disheartening when that doesn’t happen, though.

  2. Avatar of Alice Nevada
    Alice Nevada

    Teri, I have been wanting to reply to your post all week, but I have been so God-awful sick! Anyway, what I wanted to say when I first read this was: Spot On! Amen, sister! Hell Yes! and a whole bunch of other loud affirmations. I am known among my friends and family as “the one who can’t hold her tongue”. This might sound a bit corny, but in college I had to do an in depth review of Hamlet and his crisis with integrity. For the purposes of the argument, integrity was defined (in part) as the ablility to see a wrong that needed to be put right and then act on it. This made a very deep impact on me. I had grown so sick of hearing people complain about things, but never speak out against them, or (gasp!) act out against them. I decided I could not be that kind of person. I can not abide quietly while another person says or does something wrong – and by wrong I mean hurtful, malicious, dangerous, etc., not simply something I don’t agree with – and ‘hold my tongue’ just to keep the peace or not offend anyone. I don’t get nasty or abusive, I don’t get in other people’s faces or get preachy, but I do not hold my tongue. I have been told to ‘lighten up’, or stop ‘being so serious’ so many times its mind boggling, but really, that just makes me all the more determined to speak out….because some things aren’t funny, and some things need to be taken seriously.
    I also hope that, were the tables reversed and I was doing or saying something stupid or ignorant or wrong, that there would be someone like me or you. Someone with the courage to call me out on my behavior and teach me, someone with the integrity to set me straight. I would bristle at first. Of course, who doesn’t bristle at being corrected? But how can I grow as a person if no one is willing to correct me when I make a mistake? So please, Teri, keep opening your big mouth, and I’ll keep opening mine, and maybe we’ll all learn from the experience!
    Thanks for your post!!

    1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
      Teri Drake-Floyd

      *loudmouths unite!*

      Thanks for the reply! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. Sometimes I feel like I’m really just being an overbearing bish, and am coming off really unlikeable. But then I think, well, of course people are going to want to see you that way if you are challenging the way they think.

      1. Avatar of Alice Nevada
        Alice Nevada

        Sometimes I feel that way too, but its usually at times when I’m saying to myself “Well, if no one else is going to do something about it, I will.” Case in point – earlier in the summer my 5 year old had a dance recital followed by a potluck dinner in the gymnasium at our town’s Rec center. Half of the gymnasium was set up for a gymnastics expo the next day, the other half was for the dance recital. During the potluck dinner almost all of the kids went over to play on the gymnastics equipment. I told my kids to stay off the equipment because it was A – set up in a very specific way for show the next day and B – the rules of the Rec Center say no one can use the gymnastics equipment with out the instructor there. During the dinner, the kids playing on the equipment got rowdier and rowdier to the point that they were hauling pieces of equipment all the way across the gym and doing dangerous thing like trying to do backflips off the high-beam while little 2 and 3 year olds were running around under it. I kept saying to myself, “When is someone going to tell them to stop? These kids are breaking the rules, being dangerous, and ruining the set up for the gymnastics show and might break some of the equipment?” No one said or did a thing, so I finally went over and told the kids they had to put back all the equipment that was moved and stop playing on it. I said it in a firm voice, to be sure, but I didn’t yell, and wasn’t nasty about it. Some of the kids talked back asking why they had to stop, so I told them it was against the rules to be on the equipment without the instructor present – it was dangerous, and that it was rude to move everything around that someone else had taken the time and effort to arrange properly.
        Well, I really pissed offed some (okay – most)of the adults there, and heard many not-so-quiet remarks about being ‘pushy’ and ‘mean’, and ‘why did I have to ruin the kids fun, they were just playing around’ and best of all, ‘she thinks its ok to tell other peolpe’s kids what to do?!?!’ Well, yes – if your kid is breaking the rules, being destructive and potentially dangerous in our shared public space and you aren’t going to say something to stop it, then yes, yes I do.

        In the end, I would rather be the bitch than see someone get hurt, or see something be destroyed, or even see people flout the rules without care or concern. If that makes some people dislike me, well then, that’s their loss.

  3. Avatar of soitgoes
    soitgoes

    Thing is, you can’t have it both ways: If you’re speaking out despite knowing that it will make other people uncomfortable, you are being aggressive and inappropriate, even if you’re factually correct.

    I’m not speaking to you specifically, but since you bring up vegetarianism…I really can’t stand people who continually hound me to change my eating habits after I’ve already told them that I don’t want to. I understand the argument for giving up meat and I have decided against it. People who harp on about things like that to people who aren’t interested really are bitchy and holier-than-thou.

    I’m not saying that it’s wrong to be passionate about causes; quite the opposite in fact. But I do think it’s important to learn how to judge your audience, and I’ve known way too many people who’ve fancied themselves “brave” or “outspoken” when really they’re just in the habit of saying things that hurt other people.

    1. Avatar of [E] Liza
      [E] Liza

      Sanctimony goes both ways. I see a LOT of people who say things like “Meat is awesome! Vegetarians are really stupid! HAHAHA let’s make jokes at them about meat and stick it in their faces because I think they’re silly! I’m going to pitch a fit if they ask to eat somewhere other than this steakhouse even though I can also get a steak at the vegetarian-friendly place they suggested!” I know not all meat eaters are like this, but I’ve seen more of this sort of thing than I’ve seen veg*ns who hound anyone.

      Veg*ns (and meat eaters who are decent people) are forced to go on the defensive a lot and then get accused of pushing their veg*nism in everyone’s faces.

      Interestingly enough, my reasons for being a vegetarian come up in conversation frequently, but I am never the one to bring up the topic. When I mention it, it’s usually something like “hey, is there any meat in that dish?” because I want to know whether or not I can eat it without developing the nausea that comes if I accidentally consume meat. Sometimes someone hears me, or they already know from before, and ask about it. So I tell. Most of the other veg*ns I know really only bring up the topic when asked or out of necessity. But, like me, they aren’t afraid to push back if they encounter one of the veg*n-mocking types like above.

      So the sanctimonious-veg*n stereotype can be a fun one to play with, but it’s simply not true most of the time. Yes there are assholes in every group. But that doesn’t mean all of them need to be painted that way. And since Teri mentioned “vegetarianism” in passing and without context, you’re jumping to a conclusion here yourself.

      1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
        Teri Drake-Floyd

        This is true, Liza. I just brushed past it rather than address that because I am so used to it being assumed that becuase I’m a vegetarian I must have an agenda to push…but I actually don’t. I’m a veghead for various reasons, but they are personal and I can’t think of one instance in the entire decade that I’ve been vegetarian where I pushed it on anyone. My husband eats meat, my whole family does and most of my friends do, too. I cater to them far more than they cater to me. I also put up with relentless teasing and what I feel are silly and asinine questions about it all the time…that was really what I was alluding to when I mentioned it in the above article. Not pushing it on folks or jumping on a soapbox about eating meat, but rather defending my own choice not to.

        And I agree with you on the other point as well…in my experience it seems that there are far more meat-eaters who have some kind of stake in my dietary habits and become preachy about their right to eat meat, almost to the point of spitefulness, than there are vegans and vegetarians that are preachy about it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever known even one vegetarian who was preachy about their choice and urged others around them to go vegetarian. But, as I said, I’m the odd one out in my family and amongst most of my peers, so I’m sure those people do exist somewhere.

        1. Avatar of [E] Liza
          [E] Liza

          I’m always the one giving in, too. I went to a seafood restaurant for my high school graduation. One year I went to an Outback Steakhouse for my own birthday. In both cases it was because I was basically told I should STFU and make everyone else happy (never mind that these were MY occasions).

          Recently I was in Vegas and looking for a place to grab food with a couple of friends and the first two places we went had almost nothing I could eat. My friends were actually super nice about walking to a third spot where I knew I could find something (because I’d been there before) and told me to stop apologizing. I was legitimately shocked because I’m so used to people getting snippy and annoyed when I ask nicely to go somewhere that actually has food I can eat.

          In related news, I truly do not understand how you could open a restaurant and not have a couple of vegetarian entrees on your menu. It’s really not hard.

          1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
            Teri Drake-Floyd

            That’s why I love Athens so much (I imagine you felt more catered for when you lived here?). But yeah, even so, I totally relate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had french fries and steamed veggies, or some variation of a salad sans the meat (but still full price) for my dinner at some steakhouse.

  4. Avatar of Professor S
    Professor S

    I choose to be a writer, especially one that publishes her work openly on the Internet, I have to be prepared that sometimes, I might accidentally cause offense to someone. When that happens, being gracious and understanding of the person who is offended is so important. Even if you don’t fully understand why they took offense, even if you don’t think what you said is offensive. That doesn’t make their feelings any less invalid. If you refuse to take responsibility for the hurt your words cause, then you lack even the most rudimentary social skills. To be that devoid of compassion for other people’s feelings is something I just can’t fathom.

    I don’t care if I annoy people, or they want me to just be quiet and let them be comfortably ignorant and silent. I’m never going to “lighten up.” I’m just getting started.

    These two thoughts seem to be in opposition to each other but maybe it’s just me. In my experience, sometimes people say they are offended when the truth is they just didn’t like/agree with what was said and they want to shut the other person up. Instead of screaming SHUT UP they say, I am sooooo offended. Sometimes people take offense at an idea of what they thought was said and not what was said at all. In my experience, taking offense often just prevents open honest discussion about what was said and why it was said.

    I think if a person wants to live in a world where they are are free to think their thoughts and have their own opinions, they also have to allow for others to have the right, too. Even if they don’t like it.

    1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
      Teri Drake-Floyd

      I agree with your last paragraph. I think it’s true that in an ideal world, you would be able to discuss something that you find offensive rather than just saying “oh, I’m offended” and shutting down the other person without giving them a chance to explain. Dialogue is important and it benefits everyone by helping them to understand the other person’s position.

      Unfortunately, that is not always the way things go, especially in a casual forum like Facebook or elsewhere on the internet. If you speak out to say that you’ve become offended by someone’s offensive language, racist thoughts, jokes about obesity, sexist musings, etc, you may not always be met with someone who is willing to conversate about why they’ve offended you and try understand your position. Many times, such as in the example I mentioned above of the “fat joke”, you are rebuffed and turned into a joke yourself for daring to speak out. I was not offered anything by way of dialogue, I was just told to “lighten up” (hence the title of this piece) and laughed at until I went away.

      It is cases like those that I’m referring to in the second paragraph you referenced of mine. People shouldn’t have to shut up just to get along with folks. If you are offended by something, you should be able to say it. I’ll agree that today’s society seems to have a lot of us who are quick to be offended, but getting caught up trying to decide who deserves to be offended and who is just being petty doesn’t do anybody any good. I prefer to err on the side of, if someone tells me they’ve been offended, they probably are offended.

      I don’t think the two paragraphs you referenced are at odds with each other when you read the article together as a whole. The first paragraph is talking about my writing and how I have inadvertently been the person causing offense, and how I should react to that. The second paragraph is referring to me as a person who has been offended, and speaking out about the causes of that offense.

      1. Avatar of Professor S
        Professor S

        People shouldn’t have to shut up just to get along with folks. If you are offended by something, you should be able to say it.

        So true, but by the very same token, the person who offended you has the right to say what they’ve said in the first place. We all have our own individual thoughts, ideas and opinions, and yes, some of us are not going to like the way we/others choose to express those thoughts and opinions or even the opinions themselves.

        I’ll agree that today’s society seems to have a lot of us who are quick to be offended, but getting caught up trying to decide who deserves to be offended and who is just being petty doesn’t do anybody any good. I prefer to err on the side of, if someone tells me they’ve been offended, they probably are offended.

        If we are tolerant, we simply accept that people have differing ideas that will sometimes rub us the wrong way. If we’re honest, we’d say, What you’ve said has made me angry and I don’t like it, here is why!

        Simply saying I’m offended puts the other person in the position where they now have to apologize for daring to having an independent thought that didn’t match your own, for having the audacity to disagree with you; for having the gall to express themselves differently than you’d choose to.

        Often what a person really means when they say they’re offended is this: “I hate what you’re saying; it makes me angry, and you should shut your mouth! And you’re going to shut your mouth, whether you like it or not. !” But since telling someone to shut up IS offensive, rude and intolerant instead what is said is, “I’m offended.”

        I don’t think the two paragraphs you referenced are at odds with each other when you read the article together as a whole. The first paragraph is talking about my writing and how I have inadvertently been the person causing offense, and how I should react to that. The second paragraph is referring to me as a person who has been offended, and speaking out about the causes of that offense.

        In the first part of the piece you speak about being offended and how you expressed it and how you were perceived/received. Then you segue into how a person should behave if another person claims offense, using your own self and reaction as an example. Then you end it by emphasizing your right to free speech, to express yourself how you choose. Except we can’t subjectively dictate to others how they should react, what they should say and how they should say it, simply because we’re right and they’re wrong, and what they’ve said has pissed us off.

        I suppose we can try, and create a lot of negative discontent along the way.

        Or maybe we can rather try to understand those we can, dialogue with those who we can, and ignore/avoid the more belligerent and ignorant. Using offensiveness to either avoid discussion or claim the high, moral, superior, “more educated” road is actually something that I find offensive. It’s being dismissive, eloquently.

  5. Avatar of Kristina
    Kristina

    As one outspoken woman to another – thank you for putting this out there for the rest of us. It’s so hard to keep my mouth shut when I see and hear things I disagree with.

    I have learned though, that many times when others make fun of something I’ve said, it’s because they don’t understand (not everyone is a bookish clever woman!) or are uncomfortable with confrontation as a whole. Rather than debate they chose to use humor to diffuse the situation – what they don’t get is that rather than diffuse you, they’ve actually lit the fuse on the verbal sparring bomb that is you (and I).

    I’m very fond of the saying “Pick your battles” – sometimes it’s better to look at who you are about to confront / chastise / etc. to and see if that person is even willing to see your side before you get into a shitstorm of drama or worse – invite the verbal abuse from others, like on Facebook.

    1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
      Teri Drake-Floyd

      I think that’s true. A lot of time people stay quiet because it’s easier than actually stopping to think about why something is offensive. Often those same people might actually change their point of view if they’d just leave their comfort zone.

  6. Avatar of WillowWeen
    WillowWeen

    So, so, so agreed. On all of it.

    They feel threatened, and they strike out. The older I get, and the less patience I have for ignorance and prejudice, the more people seem to be annoyed with me. Apparently I speak out too much. It has become a liability in my social life to an extent.

    Recently, I had a “discussion” (shitstorm) on FB because a man thought the Bechdel test was completely stupid. So I said something sarcastic in response. Like you said, the older you get, the less patience you have explaining simple concepts that you’d think people would know by now. Anyway, after him and his buddy tore me a new asshole (literally using every swear word they could, while I didn’t call them anything nasty), their women-who-hate-women chick friends piped up saying, “Wow what a stupid argument. You need to lighten up. I’m a woman and I’m fine watching movies with no women in them. Movies with women in them are all romcoms that suck.” and other annoying comments. In the end, the first guy I responded to, who swore up and down the entire time that he was. not. sexist. called me a “dumb cunt.” When I told him that in itself was sexist, his response was, “it’s not sexist to call a woman a dumb cunt, if she’s being a dumb cunt.” So…yea. Pretty much everything he was saying was ignorant and inflammatory and the sad part was that he didn’t understand why. I got sick of trying to explain.

  7. Avatar of Miel
    Miel

    I defintely come across this a lot since my mom is fond of saying rude, insulting things and then getting very defensive if anyone dares call her out on it. When she confronts me I usually just say “Oh, so you’re allowed to say whatever you want, but I’m not? That’s a bit hypocritical.” I find that’s usually pretty effective in these situations.

    Also, in regards to this quotation:

    “I hadn’t thought of it as a female issue until that derogatory comparison was made, and then it was like a light bulb had gone off in my head. Suddenly, I was curious. Had a man taken offense to the fat joke instead of me, would he have been dismissed in such a disrespectful manner? Doubtful. His concerns would have been acknowledged, if not agreed with.”

    Thinking of a lot of the men that I’ve come across online, I have to disagree with you. A man would be belittled as well for being too sensitive and probably would have been called a girl, a whole other kettle of fish.

    1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
      Teri Drake-Floyd

      I suppose I was talking mainly about my group of peers. It seems like if a guy were to bring up the same issue, he would be acknowledged if not agreed with, but because it was me, a female, it was immediately delegated to, “oh, this must be one of them there feminist thangs, hahahaha, how silly”. Though I do see your point that a lot of the time if a man does rise to the occasion to comment when something is offensive, he’s often chided for being a “woman” or something. Like the fact that he’s offended means he’s weak and feminine.

    2. Avatar of Professor S
      Professor S

      I defintely come across this a lot since my mom is fond of saying rude, insulting things and then getting very defensive if anyone dares call her out on it. When she confronts me I usually just say “Oh, so you’re allowed to say whatever you want, but I’m not? That’s a bit hypocritical.

      But isn’t also hypocritical to want to prevent your mother from saying things you find insulting and rude, while also wanting the right to call her out on it?

      Its just food for thought. The truth is we get to choose who we spend time with, listen to, correspond with etc. If someone speaks in a way we dislike, expresses thoughts we disagree with, etc. we can exercise our right to not spend time with that person or remove ourselves from their company. We don’t have to power to get others to say what we want them to say in the way we want them to say it, and if that’s our motivation, simply because we think we are “right” and they are “wrong” I think we might just be missing the mark. Better to try to understand why the person has said what they’ve said in the first place, imo.

      1. Avatar of Teri Drake-Floyd
        Teri Drake-Floyd

        I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where I have to give up friendships and spending time with people I like because they may’ve made a faux pas or inadvertently offended me or someone else. Nor would I want for someone to just stop hanging out with me if I said something a little off. I’d want them to tell me that I hurt their feelings. How is it easier/better to give up on friendships than to just say, ‘Hey, that was offensive, this is why I think so’ and both parties moving on maturely?

        1. Avatar of Miel
          Miel

          Exactly, I’m not going to end my relationship with my mom because she occasionally says things I disagree with, that seems to be a bit harsh.

          I think if a person wants to live in a world where they are are free to think their thoughts and have their own opinions, they also have to allow for others to have the right, too. Even if they don’t like it.

          I completely agree with this statement which is why I have to use statements such as “Oh, so you’re allowed to say whatever you want, but I’m not? That’s a bit hypocritical.” to make people realize that now that they’ve said their piece, I have a right to respond with my opinion when they try to cut me off. I defintely don’t see anything in there that prevents my mom’s speech, since it’s a response to her. Trust me, it’s not possible to prevent my mom from saying what she wants :)

          1. Avatar of Professor S
            Professor S

            How is it easier/better to give up on friendships than to just say, ‘Hey, that was offensive, this is why I think so’ and both parties moving on maturely?

            Is that the only option? I don’t think so. To me it’s about being discerning. We choose our battles. Not every FB post or entry am I going to challenge and say something about. Why? Because I might decide it’s not going to lead to fruitful conversation, which is the only reason I’d challenge, chastise or try to correct what I believe is wrong in what someone has said.

            I completely agree with this statement which is why I have to use statements such as “Oh, so you’re allowed to say whatever you want, but I’m not? That’s a bit hypocritical.” to make people realize that now that they’ve said their piece, I have a right to respond with my opinion when they try to cut me off.

            I have a mother who is does that. You know what I learned? No. 1, she is never going to “realize” anything. She doesn’t want to. She actually likes (finds comfort/safety) in the way she is; it helps prevent her from looking at herself because she’s always criticizing others.

            No. 2 (and this is the one that was the most important to me) I don’t have to get into it with her every single time she says something rude/marginalizing/racist. I can choose to walk away or not respond or change the subject. It’s not about ending the relationship, as it is redefining it. Of course you have the right to respond, but you also have the choice to not respond. :smile:

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